Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
96
world-class
1,845 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
foundersbrewing.com

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:
1,845
Ratings:
7,712
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
8.53%
 
 
Wants:
739
Gots:
2,416
For Trade:
150
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,845 | Ratings: 7,712
Photo of y2jrock60
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Looks like motor oil while it's poured into a glass. Completely opaque dark black. Brown head that dissipates quickly, very little lacing.

S- Very rich, smooth coffee and dark chocolate aromas. Hints of mild sweetness and a slight presences of alcohol.

T- Creamy, mild chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit, and premium coffee flavors. There is a linger hop bitterness at the end. The flavors stay on the tongue long after each sip.

M- Extremely thick, one of the thickest beers I've had. There is a creamy quality and an alcohol presence. Low carbonation.

O- One of the greatest examples of the style.

 604 characters

Photo of WhiteHillsStore
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black color with a coffee colored head. The smell is full of roasted malts that give the beer a nice coffee scent to it. The taste was great with coffee and dark chocolate flavors mixing well with a bit of hops here and there. Hides the ABV well and I thought this was an amazing beer. Definitely worth picking up.

 328 characters

Photo of Jacurdy60
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter.

A-Pitch black like almost every imp. stout. Deep brown, toffee colored half finger head with good retention. Leaves lacing on the sides of the glass and looks thick as hell.

S-Bitter baker's chocolate, figs, raisins, clove?, burnt oak, burnt sweet bread

T-Front of the palate is hit by the bitter chocolate and is phased out quickly by the sweet, dark fruits. That fades nicely into the burnt oaky taste and finishes again with a semi-sweet and burnt flavor with a spiced bite from the alcohol that lingers for a while and fades back into the overpowering oaky flavor. A heck of a lot of depth

MF-Creamy like syrup. Probably the best mouthfeel on a beer I've ever had. Absolute perfection.

O-It's Founders and the beer is heralded. What is there to say? My expectations were high and they were met.

 843 characters

Photo of shangwang
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 12/07/12. Poured into a Dogfish snifter.

The first characteristic of this beer that really stood out was how viscous the body was as I poured it. Initially I was left with a full thick finger of cocoa head, which reduced to a thin layer leaving scant lacing after a few minutes. The smell was fantastic and rich; baker's chocolate, vanilla, and charred wood stood out with hints of anise. Lots of dark, roasty malt in the taste with a very subtly sweet finish. Very bold, like cold French roast coffee. Mouthfeel is on the heavy side, and very smooth. Fits the beer well.
Great beer to sip at, although it's so good you'll want to have a few. Very satisfying.

 673 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

truly exceptional stout right here. I love the fact that it isn't sweet at all, and it doesn't try to hide what it is. very straightforward stuff. the pours is almost jet black, just the darkest shade of brown in there, with a patient but excited mocha colored head that swirls right back up as soon as it settles. the nose is very alcoholic, but its not aggressive or cheap vodka style, its there as a reminder, or maybe a warning. I pick up some good wood in this too, maybe birch or maple, something lighter than oak for sure, more fresh. there is a cocoa bitterness throughout the flavor, that climaxes toward the finish. lots of dark dark roasted barley here, and a certain earthen quality that fills in for the usual residual sugar. it makes the beer more drinkable than it should be. I love the mouthfeel, soft as crushed velvet, but with enough carbonation for its huge body not to get filling. it also finishes fairly clean for a style that usually clings to the teeth for ages. alcohol is warming but not offensive, and the absence of sweetness is astounding and really quite unique in the big stout world. I can finally see for myself what all they hype is about, and this is a beer for the ages. hard to imagine kbs and cbs being even better, but I will find that out for myself as well...

 1,301 characters

Photo of Tonyjenlasc
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Look - Black as night. Gorgeous two finger mocha head. Killer lacing that stains the glass when you swirl.
Smell - Bakers chocolate, coffee, smokiness, dark roasted malts
Taste - Big pop of dark chocolate up front followed by espresso type coffee bitterness. Some smokiness/ash on the back end.
Feel - Nice full mouthfeel. Creamy, smooth, mouth coating, thick.....exactly how I like my stouts!

Overall - One of my favorite, if not my favorite, seasonal stouts. Possibly the best non BA stout out in my opinion.

 512 characters

Photo of hman43
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look: It is black, with a dark brown head. It has a tight carbonation of the bubbles, with a fair amount of legs in the swirl.

Smell: It has a rich malt aroma that features chocolate, coffee, hints of raisins and plums. There is an alcohol presence as well.

Taste: There are flavors of coffee and dark chocolate, especially in the initial flavors. As the beer warms a bit, roasted malts with a slight burnt tone are evident. Fruity esters of plums and darker fruits are hinted at. It has an over all bittersweet taste to it.

Feel: It is full bodied, chewy, with a velvet like texture. The carbonation is moderately low with a pleasant alcohol warming.

Overall: This is a well balance classic example of a Russian Imperial Stout that is bittersweet overall with strong alcohol warming.

 791 characters

Photo of THSdrummer
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a jet black with a thin, dark creme head. It leaves behind a ring of lace. It smells of malts and cocoa. The taste opens up as a bit of cocoa, mixed with booze. Very tasty, and easy to drink though. The feel is rather incredible. It feels robust, and creamy. It is a delight to drink. Overall, very pleased with this beer. It's quite incredible.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

 379 characters

Photo of TastyTaste
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to ThomasHardy for the bottle, with the very cool upside-down label.

Appearance: Pours without much head of any kind, just a thin tan collar, and a skin across the top of the beer. A little lace above a jet black body.

Smell: All the trais of a good RIS are there. Strong black coffee, rich dark chocolate, alcohol vapors, above average hops. Very nice rich roasted smell.

Taste: Smooth yet strong, coffe flavors are enhanced by the alcohol, which leads into the hops, which ends smokey and satisfying. Another winner from Founder.

Drinkability: I could actually line up a couple empties of these, it is a well balanced, yes asertive RIS.

 657 characters

Photo of Samuel906
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really excited to try this. I have heard no end of great things about Founders stouts an d this certainly did not disappoint. Pours absolutely sheer jet black with one of the darkest brown heads Ive ever seen. head dissipates quickly leaving behind the viscous, oily brew. Rich creamy mocha greets you on the nose complemented by toasted malt, and chocolate covered cherries. Taste is a tidal wave of bittersweet chocolate up front with a mellow finish of earthy tobacco, and roasted coffee. Feel is thick and oily, coats every inch of your mouth. A bit sticky. but it comes with the territory. Definitely a slow sipper. Overall, one of the kings of the heavy stouts. Great in all aspects.

 689 characters

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip Glass. This beer comes out a dense black color, with basically no highlights at all, it's pretty impressive. The color of the head is chocolate milk with extra syrup. Some pretty decent lacing.

When I cracked this open, I held it six inches or so from my nose and I could start to pick up the aroma and I knew it was going to be good. Smells like there is a good combination of malts, but the strongest is certainly chocolate, a semi-sweet dark chocolate. There are also strong notes of a natural roasted barley. Hint of smokiness and a touch of alcohol that warms your nose.

The taste is truly excellent. The large amounts of malts are even more detected in the flavor profile. It tastes like a blend of bittersweet, semi-sweet, dark, and milk chocolate all blended together if that makes sense. Big flavor, slight smokiness again, but not as much as the smell. A natural sweet roasty flavor. This is truly a tasty beer, like chocolate milk for adults.

The mouthfeel is pretty much perfect. It's certainly full bodied, and super smooth. Actually, smooth is an understatement, this sets a new standard for me, silky smooth sweetness. Excellent carbonation level and really not a bite from the alcohol which stands at 10.5%; it's barely detectable. Very easy drinking beer, anybody could polish this one off with ease.

Founders does it again, I have 2 left that I'd like to put a little age on to see how they do. Its the end of May right now, I'd love to see how an aged one taste in the winter, who know's maybe I'll edit this and give it another 5 or two.

*Still good after a year in the cellar, but probably a little better fresh*

 1,680 characters

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle courtesy of mgbickel in the Black Booty 5 BIF. Into an Epic snifter.

A: Inky black with a slow to rise brown head that bubbles up to almost half an inch and recedes into the murk almost as fast leaving behind a ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. No lacing left behind.

S: Chocolate first then some burnt barley, a bit of caramel as well as a few plum like notes. Lots of coffee and char in here as well. Smells like it should, a huge imperial stout. A bit of an earthy hop profile. All around just smells like a huge beer.

T: Everything I ask for in an imperial stout, massive sweetness that is balanced by bitter roasted/burnt malts and a bitter, resinous hop profile. Tons of molasses and caramel blend in nicely. Long lingering flavors of burnt malts, plum skins, and hop resins make me take another drink entirely too fast. This should be one to savor, but it is just too damn tasty. Really impressive.

M: Absolutely nailed it here, thick and chewy, perfectly balanced between overly sweet and dry, so it doesn't leave an acrid ashy feel in the mouth. No booze warmth at all. Excellent.

O: This is definitely one of the best imperial stouts I've ever had. Everything works so well in this beer, that is hard to imagine it getting much better. Thoroughly enjoyed this.

 1,304 characters

Photo of jslot38
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Easier to get a hold of versus all of the other Founders high octane stout options... and more than holds its own for me.

12oz bottle to Bell's tulip glass. Very thick on the pour, minimal head, some good lacing though especially for a high ABV brew. Needless to say, black as night body, mocha colored lacing.

Aroma has a bit of a burnt note to it, not quite ash like, but very roasted, deep and complex. Molasses, touches of chocolate and coffee.

Taste: Strong roast flavor. A bit of dark fruits run throughout - dates, maybe plums. In the middle of a sip comes some coffee and baker's chocolate. Just a touch sweet, no noticeable alcohol presence, outstanding.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth, low carbonation, velvety.

Overall: One of my favorite imperial stouts. I'll let everyone clamor for KBS and CBS and keep drinking this.

 838 characters

Photo of REGreenBTRB
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 5 - Menacing. Pitch black with this mean-looking cinnamon head than thins out.

Smell: 4.25 - Malt and a super dark chocolate; like one of those 85% dark chocolate bars or something. Smells nice.

Taste: 4.5 - Holy smokes! This beer is absolutely loaded with flavor. That super dark chocolate on the nose is there on the taste and stays there. BIG beer. Not overpowering with alcohol like a 10.5% could be, but this is obviously a sipper. There are some coffee notes on the back end, and a mild smokiness to it as well.

Mouthfeel: 5 - This things is the creamiest beer I've had yet. Silky smooth, creamy, thick, AHH! This beer reminds me of a Rolls-Royce Phantom. You see one of those things "driving," i.e, sailing on the road, and you just know that it's the smoothest ride of your life. Well, yeah. This.

Overall: 4.65 - A solid A beer. This isn't something I would drink but maybe once a month. It's so good, but so massive I feel like I'd overwhelm myself with more frequent consumption. Badass brew.

 1,022 characters

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip

A motor oil black body with absolutely no highlights. A thin, 1+ finger tan head has some nice staying power and left dots of lace all over. A very pretty stout.

Mostly bitter dark chocolate nose with anise, molasses, slight espresso, plums and a significant roasted malt aroma. This is a big, full nose that is quite aromatic.

A very nice balance of bitter dark chocolate, roasted malt, and smooth espresso. There is a big bitter component in the flavor. The chocolate and hops really smack the palate. 90 ibus is no joke for this RIS. A very slight bit of alcohol creeps in on the back end as the beer warms.

Smooth and velvety mouthfeel. Really fills and coats the mouth. Not as oily as I would have imagined but big and bold nonetheless.

The 10.4% really catches up with you even though it is so well-hidden. With such a robust and full flavor profile and body, this is a sipper for sure. A joy to drink.

 945 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

pours absolutely black with a tan head, but even with a jhard pour i can only generate about a 1/2 inch of head. Some lacing as well. The aroma has lots of licorice, some chocolate, and a touch of espresso. Rich flavors that are seemlessly integrated and very smooth and silky in the mouth. Nice flavors of licorice, chocolate, fresh cream, and some lovely roastiness. I love the superb silky, creamy mouthfeel. This one is a winner. Maybe the creamiest of all the RIS.

 469 characters

Photo of CTAID
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Aight yo. I have no special interest in tracking down uber-rare CBS/KBS'es, so this is the Founders Imperial Stout that I'm going to stick with. Poured into the finest diamond imbued goblet of Silenus. JKJK typical beer stein. Pours black as a black cat on a cloudy night without a moon. Where there's no stars or anything. Really quite black. That's what I'm getting at here. Maybe a hint o f brown? Smells like coffee. I can already tell that I'm in for a treat. Hop bombs are nice, but malt bombs are somethin' else. Speaking of, this label reads '90 IBUs'. I haven't a clue where this number comes from, but certainly not the taste of this beer or its smell. The taste follows the nose - oatmeal, coffee, a little booziness, just enough hops to keep things in check. The mouthfeel makes this beer to me, it washes down like cream. Like it enters your body on a carpet of clouds and leaves behind Care Bears. This shit is dangerous, it weighs in at 10.5% ABV but feels like it should be maybe 7-8%. Bravo, Founders!

 1,018 characters

Photo of argock
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap in a 10oz stemmed clear glass snifter at beer Run (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Completely opaque black with burnished cakey brown 1/2-finger of head with good retention and lines of lace sedimenting the glass.

S: Black forest chocolate cake with a light cherry cordial glaze is my best stab and encapsulating the aroma. The dark bread aroma is unique with a delicious bittersweet dark chocolate punch and plenty of cold black coffee to go around. The breadiness is a definite departure from FBS. Hops are tobacco and earthy.

T: Flavor is deep and rich with chocolate and coffee mingling with that same cakey, dark sweet bread flavor that finishes with an ample dose of earthy hoppiness. The dark maltiness is not underplayed a bit, and alcohol is not detected. This went excellently with the double chocolate cake for a wonderful dessert.

M: Full-bodied without being overly viscous or oily. Rich and creamy it has a palate-coating quality that flows seamlessly.

D: A fantastic imperial stout. Without a doubt, I will have to find some of these bottles when they come around and stash them away. Compares very closely in quality to Bell's Expedition Stout, but Founder IS definitely lands on the sweeter, breadier side of the style versus more roasted and hop-aggressive.

 1,287 characters

Photo of BeerDawgs
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 12oz bottle with a bottled on date of 12.22.15

L - Pitch black motor oil. Thick and creamy! 1/2 a finger of tan head. No lace sickness

S - Dark chocolate and roasted malts

T - Roasted malts and dark chocolate. Not overly sweet. ABV is hidden. Dried fruits and well balanced.

F - Thick bodied and medium carbonation.

O - An amazing Imperial stout. Get it if you can!

 381 characters

Photo of tillmac62
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

BOD 12/8/13. Dark as a starless night pour with a big milk chocolate head. Magnificent lacing that lasts. Slightly sweet nose of dark chocolate with hints of plum, smoke and molasses over a rich roast background. Full bodied with a slick creamy texture - perfect. The flavor profile is complex and well balanced. It begins with a creamy slightly sweet dark chocolate, follows with notes of plum and molasses, progresses to a sweeter milk chocolate coupled with a touch of smoke and finishes with a nice burst of roast. The finish is smooth and ends with a light alcohol burn and taste. If the alcohol was better covered, this stout would be perfect.

 649 characters

Photo of dannyhipps
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my beloved Tripel Karmeliet oversized tulip, otherwise known as the "The Chalice of the King", or "King's Chalice", if you're into the whole brevity thing...

A- Pours a dark fudgy brown, nearly black, with a small yet gorgeous espresso foam colored head. Thin cap hangs around, a good-looking beer throughout.

S- Wow! This beer smells fantastic! A pure sensory treat, breathing this in. Chocolate-forward roasty malts , sweet dark fruits, carmelized molasses maybe, and just a hint of alcohol smells oh so good... Begs to be inhaled over and over again. Brown sugar raisin bread, malty. Yum.

T- Sublime. Rich malts, a smooth milk chocolate and candy bar nougat quality shines throughout, until a perfect moderate hop bitter finish, reminiscent of dark chocolate, coffee grounds, and maybe the faintest hint of smoky barrel char wraps this present up perfectly. The beauty of this beer is that all the flavors come across as delicious and mellow, with no overpowering qualities.

M- The mouthfeel on this stout is truly perfect. Luxuriant, silky satin smooth and creamy, although a semi-sweet chocolate treat lies in the front and middle, the mouthfeel is never cloying or sticky, neither is it astringent in the gloriously, "just-bitter-enough" finish. A silky smooth mouthfeel that I feel couldn't be more spot-on for an Imperial Stout.

D- As drinkable as you could ever possibly find in the style. The only reason I'm not immediately cracking another one open this very moment is simply because I haven't anymore in my possesion. If I had alot more sitting around, I fear the sin of gluttony would be a very real possibility!

 1,665 characters

Photo of fastsrt
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured 12 ounce bottle in a snifter.

A: tried to entice a head, but it came out like oil and left a thin deep brown head that lasted for a few minutes.

S: roasted malts, alcohol, citrus, mellow.

T: russian imperial stout at its best.

M: smooth creamy, rich, lingering.

D: this beer leaves an impression, it is perfect. this is a must try for people who somewhat like this style beer, I had this one draft as well the head was better, and had more carbonation. The bottle is better.

This beer is an A+ but, it didn't look as sexy as others.

 546 characters

Photo of trxxpaxxs
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours pitch, motor oil black, with only a thin brownie batter type head. The foam fades to almost nothing. As it drinks, the beer coats the glass and leaving a touch of lacing.

S: The nose is sweet. Big malt backbone, with dark chocolate, licorice, and molasses shining through.

T: It's sweet to start with chocolate and mild raisin notes. Those flavors last into the finish, where I pick up some of that licorice. It gets increasingly bitter in the finish.

M: Full bodied beer. It's sweet and coating from start to finish. Syrupy is an understatement. It's super smooth, with tons of residual flavors left on the palate after it has moved off the palate.

O: Excellent Imp stout. Founders rarely disappoints, and this beer is wonderful. I'll be drinking much more of this in the future.

 793 characters

Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark as night. Almost no foam even when poured from a foot above the glass...

S - Sweet chocolate, toffee, raisin and oatmeal and bourbon/alcohol notes.

T - Alcohol and sweetness are very present up front. If you let it linger you can

M - Flat, heavy, and creamy.

O - A great example of an Imperial Stout. I won't make it a regular (like Founder's breakfast stout), but it's certainly an every now and then sipping beer to keep in the rotation. Prost!

 462 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Terminal blackness describes the appearance, full-on ebony, covered by a toasted brown cap.
Aroma is all things you want in an Imperial Stout, mollases, carob, anise, mostly chocolate, with undertones of coffee, rich, complex and deeply dark....a tickler for the nostrils, there's a fullness of flavor in the smell of this, that simply must be savored at length. I want to stave off the sipping, just to bask in this olfactory delight.
On the lips and off the tongue, it's a thick, rich sensation...a fullness in the mouth, comes in grand force and takes over the cavernous reaches of the mouth...sits in command on the palate, as excess dark deliciousness drips over...a kingpin of the Imperial Stout variety, though certainly no Dark Lord...I don't taste any 12%, but it's making it's way assuredly onto my system, I can nice drinkability on it, too, despite the high octane booziness...it doesn't feel too bad on me, at least, not until I try to stand up...whoop=wha---whoa!!

much thanks to Chaz for the bottle...a happier day will fall when Founders is available locally!

 1,080 characters

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,712 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe