Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
75 IBU

Added by mjohn27603 on 01-13-2003

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Reviews: 1,879 | Ratings: 7,813
Photo of GabrielM
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

A - about as good as it gets with an imperial stout! Pitch black with a nice dark brown head on top.

S - coffee, vanilla, bittersweet chocolate, roasted malts, oak.

T - all of the nose but surprisingly balanced. No one flavor is dominant. It has that Founders stout taste, meaning I can definitely detect hints of the KBS and BS (or maybe it's the other way around) and I love it.

M - extremely smooth and a nice array of flavors on the palate.

D - the only thing that would stop me from drinking this one is the 10.5% ABV, which is basically undetectable, so I guess I'd eventually just pass out.

I really, really wish Founders were available here.

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Photo of rpardon7
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poure from a 12 oz bottle a jet black almost oil appearance with a tight thin tan head. Smells of chocolate cofee and roasted grain. The taste is just what you would expect from an impy stout. Roasted malt bitter up front with a bite of coffee and a smoother roasted malt and chocolate and an alchohol burn to finish. This beer is super smooth and creamy not overly biting and a very balanced carbonation. Drinkability is higher than you would imagine for a 10 percent beer that being said more than a few and you would be swimming.

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

appearance: deep dark black, nearly ebony, loaded head and creamy garnet reddish froth. it was almost metallic swirling around in the glass.

smell: loaded coffee, and heavy chocolate aromas

taste: rich and slight chocolate roasted flavors but had a smooth rich taste, Dry, not sweet at all. loads of coffee flavor. compared to Ten Fidy I say it's right behind, not far.

mouthfeel: thick, creamy, good carbonation and very tasty

drinkability: Founders always right on. great example of a RIS

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Photo of SAxDRC5
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: not a very big head. Dark black. very thick and dense looking.

Smell: Dark fruits (fig?). Dark chocolate, coffee. slight alcohol scent.

Taste: figs, plums. roasted malt. Dark chocolate and espresso. "smokey flavor." Sweet in the beginning, bitter at the end. Great balance.

Feel: quite heavy. medium to low carbonation. velvety texture. absolutely perfect for this style of beer. slight alcohol burn at the end.

Drink: for 10.5% ABV, the drinkability is pretty dang impressive. I still wouldn't want more than one of these.

This is probably the best beer I have ever had. Founder's knows what they are doing.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap into a 4oz tulip at Stub & Herbs...Black pour, with not much head or retention...An aroma of all roast, not broken up enough with flavors, needs some sweetness...The taste is all very bitter and roasted coffee. Not bad, just one noted, and a very roasted imp, too much for my liking in this style.

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Photo of Blanco
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

dark brown color, chocolate head. nice head and very strong lacing. smell and taste are very similar, with a big chocolate profile. Almost no bitterness whatsoever. A hint of coffee as well though not very pronounced. slightly sweet, almost of cherries. mouthfeel is on the medium side and creamy. very drinkable, it has a lighter feel for an RIS, almost like a milk stout. given the ABV this could be a little dangerous as I defintely feel I can have 2-3 of these.

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

This particular bottle is a few months shy of being one year old. I've had this one fresh and enjoyed a lot but I'm going to review this one. Pours pitch black with a small dark brown head. Don't know if the pour was off or not but even with the small head it looks good. The smell right off is chocolate. That's really all I get out of it other than some roasted malt. Even though there isn't a lot going on in the smell what is there smells very nice. Like the smell the taste is very chocolatey. Kind of surprising since when I had it fresh it wasn't like this and there was some coffee in both the smell and taste. The mouthfeel is very thick and perfect for the RIS style. No alcohol present which is very nice making this very drinkable with the chocolate taste that is coming out. Overall fresh this one is great but with some time this one gets even better. I'm going to pick more up the next time it comes out, drink a couple fresh and age all the rest.

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Photo of Phelps
3.94/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle, received in a BIF box from callmemickey.

Appearance: pours a syrupy molasses-brown. A tiny head of cinnamon is a very late arrival, rising from the depths lazily. The top layer quickly fades to an almost unnoticeable ring.

Smell: sweet figs, sugary molasses, bitter espresso. A lovely balance between acrid roasted malt and dark fruits. Earthy, soil-like hops.

Taste: begins with a quick blast of sweet figs and plums that is very quickly replaced by tons of roasty-toasty malt. Lots of great, charred flavor here: heavily toasted bread, smoked wood, espresso. The sweetness rises again at the finish before leaving a nice bitterness lingering at the back of the mouth.

Feel: light, massaging, slightly fuzzy carbonation amidst a body that's medium-light, but nicely velvety. The alcohol content is only noticeable as a mild burn in the throat, which is pretty damn impressive for a beer that's essentially 20-proof.

Drink: for a 10-percent-plus ABV stout, this is obscenely smooth and drinkable. Great flavor and great balance. Founders knows their way around roasted malt.

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Photo of punkrkr27
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark black pour with a small, loose, brown head and good lacing. The aroma is a rich, deep blend of espresso and dark chocolate with notes of lush, ripe dark fruit, molasses, brown sugar and graham cracker. Intense espresso flavor with layers of milk chocolate, bakers chocolate, black strap molasses, brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit, and a healthy dose of spicy, piny hops. The mouthfeel is full and creamy with very gentle carbonation.

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

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes...

A- Poured a motor oil color. One and a half finger mocha colored head that shows medium retention. Ringing lacing that shows on the glass.

S- Coffee and light espresso style roasts in the front. Chocolate malts come out as well. Some light alcohol can be detected. There is also a light hop in there toward the backend...mostly pine in nature.

T- Roasted malts with a light chocolate flavor in the front. Coffee comes into play toward the middle with light darker fruits as well. Earthy hops come into play toward the end with a hint of chocolate once again.

M- Heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Coffee and roasted malts left on the palate with light chocolate notes and alcohol in the aftertaste. Light drying on the palate from the beer. Flavors are clean and well put together.

D- This was a good beer from Founders. The ABV is well hidden I thought in this beer but will sneek up on you. I had no problem having a couple bottles of this but had to move onto something a little less in your face both flavor and alcohol wise.

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Photo of Crittervision
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

reviewed on 3-14-10

browner-than-average thin head composed of tiny bubbles, sitting atop an impenetrable, oily black body.

smells of semi-sweet chocolate. incredibly inviting. roasty with a hint of coffee. just a bit of bitter/alcohol sting evident. powdery chocolate.

taste is a bit tart, that smooths out. bitter chocolate, stings a bit in the finish. roasty. strangely seems to offer more when its colder. a hint of smoke that borders on acrid, but isnt quite. smell offers more than the taste. taste is a bit lacking, not really diluted, just not as full as the smell.

mouthfeel is creamy, and would be near perfect sans bite.

on a stout kind of day, one bottle might not be enough.

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Photo of Spica66
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra from either DavidEddie or Lunch (both have sent them!)

Poured into tulip with Fr. Ian at the end of the night of brewing batch #9.

A: Dark and oily with good head formation and retention.

S: This beer knocks your socks off with an explosion of dark, sharp roast aroma. Really, really makes you want to drink it.

T: No gimmick RIS. Dark roast and dark fruits. Hops are there, but not a major presence. This is definitely one of the better RIS I have had.

M: No stickiness. Well rounded and smooth. Very nice.

D: It was a pleasure to drink. There is no way you know this is 10.5% until later.

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Photo of domtronzero
3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Very dark brown, almost opaque with a short lived mocha head that quickly dissipates into a thin ring around the glass. Lots of lacing. Very enticing.

S - Chocolate, coffee, big roasted aromas. Light dark fruits (prunes) and nice light alcohol notes.

F/M - Chocolate and dark roasty malts. Little bit of coffee. Earthy and spicy hops. Nice caramel and sweet toasty malts. Moderately high bitterness, accentuated by the dark roasted malts. Full bodied, oily and slick. Moderate carbonation. Dry finish with a lingering chocolaty aftertaste.

D - Full, sweet, thick and oily. This is a sipper for sure, and more than a full bottle would be hard to put down.

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Photo of TheSarge
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Umm, yep... This beer pours very rich and dark like used motor oil. Surprisingly a decent head does come about. The cranium is about a finger thick, and dissipates into a nice milk chocolate looking layer.

In the aroma, there are characteristics of dark chocolate, coffee, and a slight metallic hops presence. The taste is rich with the same aroma characteristics, minus the metallic hops presence.

Feel wise, this is thick and smooth with mild carbonation and a finish with alcohol warmth.

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

Poured into my Stone IRS tulip

A - Inky black with a small head that quickly dissipates to a fat ring around the glass. Moderate lacing.

S - Dark roasted malt, molasses, licorice and chocolate.

T - Pretty close to the nose, with big notes of coffee coming into play. There's a bit of hop bitterness that really balances this one out, very complex.

M - Very creamy with a medium-heavy body and moderate, "prickly" carbonation.

D - About as drinkable as a 10.5% AV stout can be, this is a great example of the style and is absolutely perfect on a cool fall evening. Another great beer from Founders!

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Photo of TheStove
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours like a damn oil change! Dark thick blackness poured into a 12 oz snifter. Leaves a fat finger of head that quickly dissipates into a light lace sitting on top of the beer.

First smells note some booziness and light coffee wood notes

Sips well and proves to be a deep complex stout. I want to say I'm tasting tobacco or cigar in this but I'm probably wrong. Drinks deep and rich with toasted malts and coffee and towards the end of the sip it feels like someone sunk a fat piece of darl chocolate in my beer. Bitter chocolate gives way to a light hop snap at the very end of the sip. An excellent stout. I would love a fat 22 oz mug full of this next to a fire on a cold day. In my opinion this is one you want to take your time with as the malt, coffee and chocolate jump out at random times.

Founders, you have mastered stout.

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Photo of rfgetz
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage... Pours like motor oil, jet black body with touches of brown around its edges. Minimal head to speak of, but leaves some little lacing from bubbles on the side. Scent brings strong roast qualities with notes of plum and raisin, chocolate comes through with a whiff of cherry cordrial, coffee present as well as some vinous notes and alcohol is definitely present. Taste manages to duplicate the components of scent very well with the added pinch of spice on the back end. Velvety and creamy body, minimal carbonation, mouth coating but no lingering aftertaste. A top notch RIS that doesnt overpower with boozyness or lack chocolate/coffee notes like others do.

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

This was my one beer for the evening, and I'm so glad - any beer following this one would have seemed disappointing.

I bought a 4-pack of this stuff way back in January, drank 2 of them, and gave one away as an extra in a trade. This is my last one ... until they release it again in 4 months:

I poured this into a sniffer.

A: Pours thick and oil-like, with a 1/2 inch dark brown head, and beautiful rising carbonation. That head did not move an inch for about a minute!

S: Dates and raisons at first, and then the chocolate (cocoa) takes over.

T: Hershey's style chocolate, and mild fresh cinnamon. Very creamy! The burnt, fake cinnamon aftertaste (ala Stone IRS) that I usually associate with this style is not present - not even a trace!

M: Milk-like texture, with dark foamy lacing on the glass. The brew itself is about as sweet as a standard glass of milk - no more, no less.

D: Eight months in the cellar definitely did this one some good. I don't remember the details of two I drank many months ago, but I do know that the beer I just drank was absolutely outstanding. Highly drinkable, with ABV detectability being nill.

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

A: Pour a viscous black color with a thick brown foam head. The heads sticks around for a minute or two then it dissipates. Great lacing.

S: A decent amount of chocolate, roasted coffee with a little hops sprinkled in there.

T: This brew was complex but well put together. Lots of malt character up front, chocolate, molasses, burnt coffee, toast. There is some hop bitterness sprinkled in the middle and the back end finishes up with the same tastes from the front end.

M: Leaves a thick viscous creamy taste on the palate.

D: Loved this beer, very tasty. Perfect for sitting by the fire while the snow goes down.

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

An awesome unexpected extra sent by JohnQVegas, one of my all time favorite RIS, Founders. You are the man.

Beer is black and has a brown head with tiny bubbles that disappears quickly. Minimal lacing on the glass.

Beer is roasty and sweet in the aroma, inviting me to drink.

Beer is sweet and mildly roasty without an aftertaste. Lots of coffee flavors, no ash. Medium body, easy drinking, beautiful. Mildly sweet in the front overall very nice. So drinkable, great feeling in the mouth too. I love this beer. Next opportunity I'm buying a case of this.

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

Founders Imperial Stout, Bottled 11.27.09:

Pours a nice ebony color. Notice that there isn't much head. Smells leaves me a bit wanting. There is a hint of roasted chocolate malts, but considering the style of beer I thought there would be a little more smell to it. There is a hint of alcohol on the nose. On the initial swallow the beer coats the tongue nicely, numbs it a little. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy. The coffee flavor comes out nicely and covers the alcohol very well. There isn't as much retention as I expected. As it warms up, the alcohol becomes a bit more evident and the beer takes a little more of a bitter turn. Overall, a nice beer for a cold winter day.

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Photo of scottyb88
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Bottle review.

A- jet black and kind of thick as it poured with a really nice 2 finger very brown head; completely opaque with minimal lacing

S-definitely some dark chocolate, raisins, and cherries; perhaps it's the age on the beer, but the hop and roasted character i was expecting has mellowed out; there is a faint aroma of roasted malt

T- definitely incorporates the chocolate and bitter coffee flavors in the taste with some "rasinets" type flavor as well; the end of the sip is a nice bit of alcohol and some sharpness from the hops

M- quite nice; it's really full but not quite chewy with a very silky flow; lingering aftertaste is definitely a bit of alcohol tingle with a semi-sweet dry finish that is not very harsh like some RIS

D- although it's not a fresh bottle, it has still held up really well; a fresh bottle would probably have a bit more hop bitterness to cut some of the alcohol tingle; at 10.5% and a noticeable 10.5% one in an evening is good for me...I'll definitely be picking up some fresh stuff this winter

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

Another beer I have yet to review from Founder's, even though I love all of their stuff. Here we go:

A: Pours a nice pitch black tar. I love the head this pours, it dissipates rather quickly. However, while it was there it had a dark milk chocolate head.

S: I can smell strong coffee and some mild caramel and vanilla.

T: It has loads of top shelf coffee and sweet yet bitter chocolate. I taste a faintness of hops. There is also a boozy'ness, not alcohol, but something else I'm not sure what it is.

M/D: It had everything you want in a stout, rich and creamy but not overwhelming. Great beer, this is the same as breakfast stout, if it wasn't for KBS, this would share number 1 with BS for the top beer in founders portfolio. Yum, still taste great even though it's 96 degrees out right now...

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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 Anthony1
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a tight 1/4" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head slowly fades down to an even film of tiny bubbles, and lacing consists of very slow moving foam that wants to rejoin the liquid but hardly has the strength to fall. Aroma is hearty dark malts, coupled with vinous dark fruits and alcohol. Taste is extremely rich dark chocolate and coffee flavors upfront, with the fruit and alcohol coming in on the middle, and closing with an increasingly bitter coffee flavor, and definite warmth. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, although a bit more carbonation wouldn't hurt in my eyes, and drinkability is high in that you want to come back for more, even if the abv means that you come back for more tomorrow.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,813 ratings.
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