Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
75 IBU

Added by mjohn27603 on 01-13-2003

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Reviews: 1,840 | Ratings: 7,659
Photo of wyattshotmaker
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into a snifter,more or less black. nice almost brown head.smells like dark chocolate,coffee,black cherries,dark fruit.

taste is incredibly rich,some dark cherry flavor upfront,big coffee and dark chocolate flavors,somewhat sweet, follows through,finishes with some coffee like acridity. this beer has more coffee acridity than most other beers,but it is nice.

incredibly rich mouthfeel,just super thick.i almost have to scrape my tongue off after each sip.great beer.

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

12 ounce bottle poured into a Piraat glass.

Appearance is and very opaque. There is a nice creamy tan head, about half a finger, sitting on top.

The aroma is quite sweet...smells of sweet brown sugar, molasses, wheat bread, caramel, dark chocolate, and vanilla.

The taste is good...hints of vanilla in the background, and molasses. These give way to some serious chocolate notes. There are some spices in there, as well. Cinnamon, nutmeg. I absolutely love the dark, bittersweet roasted coffee notes in this beer. This, combined with the other flavors here, make this a wonderful treat for the palate--balanced, intense, and delicious.

Overall, this is a solid Imperial I've grown quite fond of. I'm glad this has been put back into Founders's rotation. It has some excellent flavor, and great body.

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Photo of jampics2
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite Imperial Stouts will make this night better. This pours black as the dark winter night. Smells like chocolate, roast, creamyness, and hops. Tastes like it smells, just a bit of alcohol burn.

The mouth on this beer is second to just a few, like Night Tripper. But soooo creamy and good. Drinkability is unheard of, I could savor this and many more tonight.

The fire is roaring, this stout is making the night better for sure. A chocolate blanket of perfection.

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Photo of jmacdaddy2008
4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I haven't reviewed a beer in awhile, but this one made me want to write down a few surprising notes.
This beer had a nice head, great color and smelled wonderful. I picked up notes of coffee, chocolate and booze.
I remember this beer being a lot hotter last year, but I was really impressed by its drink ability this year.
We were only alloted a few cases in town so I am definitely snagging a few 4pks. before they are gone.
Kudos to Founders for this rendition of a RIS.

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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 jasonjlewis
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a 1 1/2 finger head with great retention and a dark brown color.

Smell is of chocolate and licorice with a bit of roast, but licorice and chocolate dominate.

Taste is similar to the nose. I'm impressed with a lack of hot alcohols in this beer. It's not a pry top, so I imagine it's had time to age. Incredibly smooth on the palate. Low bitterness for the style. I want a bit more roast, but it's so malty sweet with chocolate/licoricy notes with a touch of toffee, but not too much.

Mouthfeel is incredibly creamy and smooth.

This beer is one of the most drinkable for the style that I've had due to a lack of fusel alcohols or flaws.

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Photo of Mistofminn
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Recieved this bottle from iconoklaztor. Thanks, again Don! I've been drinking a lot of your beer lately.

12 oz bottle, vintage unknown (although it was waxed on top, so maybe Don has some knowledge of it's age) pours a viscous black-hole black into a tulip glass. Thin, dark brown head is produced, and doesn't stay for long. Only leaves tiny spots of lacing here and there. A good swirl leaves a thin film of brown liquid on the thats what I like to see...the ultimate test of an Imperial Stout. If it stains your's good to go.

The nose is strong on toasted malts and chocolate, light bitter coffee, vanilla and alcohol. There is a lot of complexity going on, but it's a little more muted than I would have hoped.

Taste is pretty much the nose but vamped up. Everything is more defined, and the complexity of the malts shines through in this one. Alcohol is nowhere to be found (contrary to the nose) and notes of vanilla and chocolate come out. Tasty!

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, thick and rich. Very low carbonation is appropriate for this brew. Slides down my throat, beckoning me to drink more. Drinkability is great, the age on this (whatever it is) has done away with the alcohol and made this an incredibly drinkable brew.

Overall, another great beer from Founders. When this hits Minnesota, I'm definitely getting more of this. It's not a world class Imperial Stout, but it's definitely a good one, and one that I will be drinking a lot more of.

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Photo of PDXHops
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to brewdan for this 12 oz bottle, poured into a Duvel tulip at cellar temperature.

Looks a bit like used motor oil pouring out of the bottle, thick and black. In the glass, though, there are some deep ruby highlights around the edges. An extremely dense creamy tan head. Great head retention, great lacing, and the beer stains the glass from top to bottom. Looks almost too good to drink. Almost...

Smells like a beer I need to get to know really well. Plentiful dark malts, French press coffee, mocha, dark chocolate and cherry liqeur are a few aromas that jump out at me. Very appetizing.

The bottle says 90 IBUs, and I believe it. There's an initial puckering 1-2 punch of pungent hops and bitter burnt malts, quickly followed by a massive chocolatey (dark and sweet) maltiness. The longer I chew on it, the more layers of flavor reveal themselves: dark roasted coffee, cherry, sorghum, a booziness kind of like fermented dark fruits, etc. Wonderful stuff.

Very full bodied and velvety smooth, with a nice long burnt malt and bitter hop finish.

Overall impression: Incredibly good imperial stout (much superior to their Breakfast Stout and KBS, IMO). I'm stoked that Founders distributes to SC and I can get this more often now.

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Photo of FrognutUnl
3.83/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Thick and viscous, it pours deep cola in color with chocolate highlights at the edge of the glass. There was almost no head to speak of and what little there was quickly faded to an oily smear on top.

S - Strong aromas of roasted malts, chocolate and anise with slight bit of dark roast coffee beans.

T - Deep roasted malt with a fair amount of coffee and an almost astringent hop bitterness. The alcohol barely comes through in the dry finish. Not a whole lot in terms of complexity, but certainly enjoyable.

M - Full bodied and velvety.

D - While I certainly enjoy this beer, I had hoped that there would be a bit more complexity considering some of founders other seasonal offerings.

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Photo of d0ggnate
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured deep black with a near single finger dark tan head layer. Frothy head fades to a bubbly ring around my glass in just minutes.
S: Bitter chocolate, faint coffee, metallic hints
T: Still bitter, but chocolate flavor is more milk, than bitter dark.
M: Very smooth and soft flavors.
D: Easy drinking. A clean imperial stout.

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Photo of kbm
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I received two of these in random trades. I had one last night liked it enough to look forward to drinking the other tonight.

Appearance: Black. Moderate tan cascading head. Decent lacing.

Smell: Metallic, coffee, chocolate, toffee and roasted malts.

Taste: Lots of coffee and roasted malts. Maybe a bit of chocolate and vanilla. Picking up the same metallic flavors in the smell and a little bit of boozy.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Moderate carbonation and moderately velvety. Very drinkable.

Great everyday imperial stout.

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Photo of rye726
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black oil with just a shade of brown around the edges. Thin mocha head with nice lacing.

Nose has chocolate, roasted malts, herbal hops, coffee, dark fruits, molasses and a hint of booze.

Taste has lots of dark malts but also a good amount of bitter hops, espresso, molasses, cocoa and ripe pitted fruits.

Full, creamy body is well carbonated. Another fantastic stout from Founders.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nose is very dark, rich, chocolaty, malty, and coffee-like. Some sour, fruity, hoppy secondary aromas. Very soft alcohol and citric aromas. Smells like it will have a significant dry, roasted, and woody character. Smells quite nice.

Pours black with very mild dark brown head. Looks good.

Flavor starts out very black coffee-like with dry woody roast and progresses to be floral, leafy, and hoppy in midpalate before settling down to be dry, powdery, and slightly alcoholic in the finish. Soft carbonation pairs with roasted woody bite and alcohol to create a punchy mouthfeel. Lots of chocolate and coffee, some burnt character. Mild sweetness is creamy and milk-like. Smooth creamy body - the soft carbonation creams it up nicely in the mouth. Tastes good. Feels fantastic. Good drinkability.

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Photo of grayburn
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an expected midnight black with just a hint of brown around the edges. The head laces and lasts, I would like it to be just a bit bigger.

The smell and taste are both filled with the usual RIS characters, chocolate, some roastiness, a little coffee in the background...but nothing really stands out, it just seems a bit too boring for such a big beer. Not quite what I was expecting considering the quality of the Breakfast and Kentucky Breakfast stouts.

The mouthfeel makes up for any other shortcomings, perfectly smooth and creamy, delicious.

The drinkability is pretty strong as well, easy drinking...not my favorite, but definitely worth trying.

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Photo of MrStark
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter glass.

Appearance is a very dark black that pours like motor oil. A very small head that is rich and brown but unfortunately disappears quickly.

Smell is somewhat rich with an aroma of all the things you'd expect from this style, coffee, chocolate and roasted malts. There is also a hint of the alcohol.

Taste is rich and bitter. The hops seam to stand out quite a bit. Lots of nice coffee and dark chocolate as well. Pretty rich and complex. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is very full bodied and thick. Nice, creamy and smooth. A nice mild amount of carbonation. It leaves a little bit of a bitter finish.

Drinkability is great for the amount of alcohol. All in all it goes down smooth and is quite enjoyable. I probably wouldn't want more than one at a time however as I feel it would better be enjoyed in moderation. Something you sip and savor.

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Photo of WeedKing4
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oct 11, 2009
Bottle. Pours jet black. Definately has the similiar roasted malt taste like the other stouts I have had. For the most part, its pretty easy to drink. The alc.% warmth tingles the tongue just a touch, but it doesn't take away from how smooth this is. Pretty damn decent drink, and easy to drink considering its plus 10% alc. Solid beverage. I actually liked it more then the Breakfast Stout.

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Photo of natelocc787
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not much head and when it disappeared it didn't leave much lace. This Stout seemed to have a pronounced bourbon character to it along with the roasted barley, chocolate/black malts and espresso and bitter chocolate character. The flavors where there and the taste impressive but this one lacked a great mouthfeel. Chewy and semi-thick but felt a little thin compared to other examples.

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Photo of bbeane
3.53/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Poured into a tumbler... looks like used motor oil. Black in color with no light showing when held up to light. Very little head despite an agressive pour. What little head was there disappears quickly

S- Smells like toasty malt, coffee, maybe some chocolate or cocoa, hint of alcohol

T- Malty sweet start, hint of plum, molasses and strong alcohol taste, with a hint of chocolate or cocoa

M- Pretty thick, syrupy with very little carbonation

D- It was tasty, though I don't think I could drink alot of it... I'd much rather be drinking the BS

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Photo of scottyshades
3.9/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on-tap at Barley's Taproom in Greenville, SC for $4.25

A: Pours a very syrupy pitch black color that produces a tiny, basically non-existent head that disappears almost immediately.

S: Initial nose is pure coffee/espresso, followed by a massive burnt malt note, finally bitter hops. Caramel, molasses, and some dark fruit comprise most of the flavors I pick up. The brew smells very sour and bitter. Slightly smokey as well.

T: The flavor was a little sour in my book. The hops really create a distinct bitter flavor that really doesn't sit well with the burnt notes, sour notes, or the smoke. Not exactly my cup...I'll stick with the Breakfast Stout.

MF/D: Very very viscous, long sour coffee finish, creamy body...Not exactly all too drinkable due to the ABV and some things about this that I really didn't like.

There seemed like something was missing...Perhaps it was the 90IBUs that overdid it...Will try again, but this one was a little disappointing

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.71/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a Blue Point Snifter

A: Poured a vigorous 1 finger fine, fluffy, toffee colored head with outstanding retention. Brew itself is pitch black and incredibly viscous. Lacing is web-like and impressive.

S: Nose is very strong alcohol and coffee with a mild backbone of hoppiness. Breathing deep, there is a hint of milk chocolate and a trace of sweet soy sauce.

T: So deep and suffocating... initial taste is coffee and this really lingers throughout the whole experience. Middle develops into a sweet alcohol, almost candy-like and little bitterness. End is alcohol sweetness mixed with roasted malts that lasts far into the aftertaste.

M: Incredibly deep and heavy bodied. This looks, smells, and tastes viscous and really engulfs the mouth.

D: Not as sweet as some other RIS's but one of the most deep bodied I've ever had. A unique combination and one that doesn't really work for me. This one is enjoyable, but its still one and done.

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Photo of righthereisay
3.39/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Got this is Swansboro, NC at Harrika's Brew Haus. I was looking for some stouts to try. Didn't particularly like the 10.5% ABV on this one.

Poured into a glass, it looked great. Near black. I'm not into labels, but I personally thought the lablel made it look like a cheap beer.

Anyways, it does smell like coffee, maybe some chocolate, but mostly alcohol.

The taste was rather good. Nice blend of flavors. I thought that there may be a little too much carbonation, but that could be a result of the alcohol. I personally didn't appreciate the bitterness at the end, or the lack of a body.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to psprings for the bottle.

Pours like motor oil. Aroma of deep roasted malt and bitter coffee. Dark stone fruits, bitter chocolate, toffee, molasses, and a bitter coffee finish. The body is rich, syrupy, and full. Glad this comes in a 12oz bottle, happier still to be splitting it with a buddy.

Founders Imp. Stout is rich, complex, and true to style. Nice.

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Photo of photomike
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Craving an imperial stout all throughout an afternoon in San Francisco, I returned home to this little guy sitting in my beer fridge. Pours black with only a tiny head forced out from my 8 inch high pour. With such little head to retain in the first place, this leaves a surprisingly solid amount of lacing. Little dots all over my glass.

The smell is strong even when served cold. Dark chocolate and cold coffee with a wallop of metal.

Taste picks things up. All kinds of coffee flavors, with some vanilla and plummy notes, this could be mistaken for a (port?) barrel-aged Founders Breakfast Stout. Very tasty, smooth, and not overly sweet. Very bitter finish.

Mouthfeel on this is incredible. Medium bodied with stronger carbonation than I'm used to in an IS. It really works on this brew. The aggressive bubbles accentuate the coffee bitterness that is really on display here. Really oily and smooth with a slightly hot finish that rounds out the flavors nicely. Not as boozy as, say, KBS.

Highly drinkable for a 10.5% brew. Would buy again.

Overall, I'm a bit surprised this beer doesn't get talked about more. A very solid imperial stout.

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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 PatronWizard
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From sparse notes... oh well. Big fat thanks to Mauerhan for sharing this baby. I had been unsuccessfully hunting for awhile.

Great looking beer. Can always revive the head. Medium shade of brown head over a black fluid. Ridiculously smooth with a big kick of flavor at the end - bunrt coffee. Smells deep of dark fruit - just one though, not all of 'em, maybe brown sugar. Thick kickin chicken.

I guess I was slightly let down because I had this beer terribly built up in my mind. Still very solid.

Overall: crossed off my list

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,659 ratings.
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