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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:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,845 | Ratings: 7,712
Photo of ClavisAurea
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage (12/2015) served at cellar temps in a snifter glass.

Appearance: poured motor oil thick with a massive, dark brown head. The beer is pitch black and lets no light through; even on the sides.

Nose: cola, prunes, figs, raisins, cocoa, coffee, alcohol sweetness, vanilla

Taste: smokey, ashtray, cola, bitter hops, chocolate, bakers cocoa, coffee, medium to heavy mouthfeel, nice carbonation for this monster, waves of bitterness from the initial taste to the finish. No alcohol heat at all, very smooth, the 10.5% ABV is hidden well. Very slight boozy note in the distant finish.

Overall: This beer is on the Top 250 for a reason. I'm looking forward to seeing what some cellar time does to this one.

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Photo of cyguyjg
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: midnight obsidian. Pours to a dark, thick, dense head that lasts and nicely laces about one inch of the top of a pint glass. Smell: sweet malt. Taste: first comes the chocolate then the roasted malt and finally the slight bitterness of 75 IBUs. Feel: smooth, full-bodied; 10.5% alcohol apparent but no alcohol burn; very well-balanced. When you quaff this, you know you have a world class Ale! Hard to say which is better -- this or their Breakfast Stout.

I am not associated in any way with Founders Brewing Company nor am I a professional writer/reviewer.

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Photo of kalosjakar
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 12/1/14, opening on 2/20/16.

Inky black with a nice chocolatey head.

Aroma of roasted malts, roasted coffee, milk chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, alcohol.

Very thick, chewy mouthfeel. This is a damn good RIS.
Flavor: Roasted, chocolate, coffee beans, creamy,

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Photo of TH28
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

e. Appearance: Jet black, opaque, with a darker than normal brown head for a RIS. Aroma: Roast, dark chocolate, charred oak, dark fruit. Taste: Rich maltiness, strong roast, and dark chocolate dominate. Flavors are sharp and fresh with a strong bitterness. Minimal dark fruit character. Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body with a distinct creaminess and low carbonation. No alcohol apparent which is surprising for a RIS this young. Finish: Roast and hop bitterness lingers. Fairly dry. Overall: A young beer with strong roast and chocolate character, with a higher than normal body and creaminess. Dark fruit character lacks compared to other imperial stouts. Interested to see how this one ages.

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Photo of NickSMpls
4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on Dec 2nd, '15 & reviewed on Feb 19th, '16. Well, what have we here? Does this "Founders" place know anything about dark-as-night, heavy-bodied, complex, malt and hop heavy brewing? Boys & girls, we can safely say "yes" to the Nth power. Inky black, solid head from the bottle. Let it warm and a bouquet of licorice, coffee, dark chocolate waft up to meet the nose. This is a sipping-by-the-fire beer, savor layers of malt and hops as they unfold on the palate. The 10.5 ABV is well hidden and no hint of alchohol hotness. Ultra-smooth, this is not the boozy Imperial IPA of the wanna-be breweries. Founders does this one justice. Delicious and seek it out.

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Photo of pwlong19
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured a dark brown with brown, tight bubbles and good lacing. S: chocolate, malt and earth, with hints of floral and fruit. T: sweet, fruity malt. Wouldn't know it was 10.5 abv. F: , Thick, sticky sweet. O: great imperial stout, from my limited experience. Lives up to the high marks from BA.

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Photo of gshak
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 12/15, tasted in 2/16, quite a young beer. For an IRS this fresh, this is one of the best beers I've tasted. Silky smooth, with flavors of chocolate, molasses, raisin, and dark roasted Appearance is an impressive sludgy, motor-oil thick liquid with a chocolate brown head. Alcohol leg all around the glass. Excellent, Silky mouth feel. Very, very impressive, Founders!

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Photo of KevCan
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought two single 12 oz. bottles from Whole Foods in Arlington, VA. Bottled 11/24/15. Poured into a tulip glass. Served with homemade vegetarian chili for dinner.

Look: Extremely dark, nearly black. Nice, thick, dark brown head.

Smell: Very malty. Chocolate. A bit sweet/fruity. Noticeable booze.

Taste: Lots of roasted malt, almost a bit sweet. Nice bitterness to balance it out. Burnt coffee, chocolate. Chocolate cherry liqueur.

Feel: THICK. Extremely smooth. Little carbonation.

Overall: Fantastic imperial stout.

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Photo of Whiskey_Kid
4.95/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Huge dark fruit, big roasted malt aroma leads right into an almost sweet rich, dark chocolate and caramel nose- A pallet of intense, complex sweet malt with a slightly alcoholic and thready hop mid-palate finishes clean smooth, though ever so slightly boozy.
I wish I could swim in it.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours jet black with a dark cream colored head. fantastic looking stout.

smell is great, notes of coffee and chocolate. roasted malt aroma.

the taste is amazing, like coffee with some chocolate. goes down SO SO SO smooth and velvety. easy drinking. finishes bitter and alcohol-y. can slightly taste the 10.5% at the end. but VERY good. i like this much more than Breakfast Stout. this is about equal to Ten Fidy in my mind.

am totally buying another 4 pack of this. just fantastic.

drinking some of this that i have left, bottled 12/02/15 and drinking this again on 6/2/16. still absolutely amazing. ages to perfection, easy to drink still. looks fantastic, thick dark head too.

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

APPEARANCE: Jet black. 2 fingers of dark tan creamy head that lasts, leaves slight lacing down the glass.
AROMA: Cocoa Malt-o-Meal, Coke, tobacco, dark chocolate, sourdough bread crust, earthy, a little alcohol. Leather. A trace of coffee.
TASTE: Big dark and bittersweet chocolate. Big bitter bite up front. A little alcohol. Dark crusty bread, sourdough bread. A sweetness in the background, cola like.
FEEL: Creamy up front, carbonation very mild, medium full body, dry on finish.
OVERALL: Very nice RIS. I'm not getting the soy sauce quality I get from a lot of beers like this, which to me, is a plus. Big dark chocolate, lots of bitterness that builds throughout the whole beer.

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4.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I was shocked to realize that I had never rated this beer. This is been one of my favorite go to Imperial Stout's for many years. I mean let's face it founders does stouts amazingly well with the lineup that includes KBS, Breakfast Stout CBS in this bad boy. I'm actually lucky enough to be rating a two year aged on this one. Pours looking like vintage black ink in body hosting a short half an inch of deep caramel brown head that fades to a skim quickly. Knows reminds me of chocolate liqor and black licorice. With first step of this beer I am always amazed at how well the flavors all meld together. You get black licorice dark chocolate and black strap molasses all-in-one. Really for a baseline imperial stout it is near perfection on flavor. This beer would take gorgeously to being Bourbon barrel aged. Hint hint founders please give us Bourbon barrel aged Imperial stout, I know everybody else is doing it but this would be a thing of beauty. This beer is an absolute classic and a benchmark for Imperial Stout's.

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Photo of Masonz223
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Look: pours a motor oil black with a mocha brown head.
Smell: chocolate vanilla roasted coffe smokeiness a little bit of alcohol
Taste: Dark chocolate roasted notes middle of the mouth the smokeiness hits camp
Fire smoke Chared wood vanilla raspberry milk chocolate burnt molasses finishes with a slight raspberry tartness more smoke in the finish roasted hop bitterness and some alchool sweetness and warmth.
Feel: this is a huge beer with a creamy smooth mouth feel.
Overall: This beer is amazing! I shouldn't of expected anything less from founders. The smoked flavores in this beer took it to a whole different level. If you love imperial stouts do your self a favor and try this one.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.82/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BLACK body, dark mocha head. I'm comparing the pour to a black background, and it is still starkly black. Aroma is deep, with dark chocolate, charred and toasted malt, a fair amount of earthy and piney hops, and some alcohol burn. The flavor is decidedly acidic and bitter; lots of hop resins, roasted malt, baker's chocolate, alcohol. Thick, full body, yet moderately carbonated.
It's big, but misses the mark for me. Too much acidity, which while within the appropriate range for the style, detracts from any warmth of the other flavors. Also too highly carbonated, and too much presence of pure alcohol; boozy is good, ethanol is not, even when it's faint. Maybe with some age this would mellow out into my preferences, but as of now it is not a favorite.

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

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

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Photo of Chiefy770
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 Fluid Ounce Bottle
Served in a Snifter
Bottled on November 24th, 2015
Reviewed on February 2nd, 2016

Poured a syrupy dark-brown body. A brown head formed, roughly two fingers thick. Excellent head retention with plenty of sticky lacing.

Roasted malts dominated the overall aroma. Dark roast coffee. Toasted nuts. Dark chocolate. Caramel. Faint hint of alcohol.

Big hit of roasted malts. Dense layers of cocoa, espresso, caramel, and charred toast. Mild hint of bitterness, similar to the acidic bitterness in coffee and dark chocolate. Finished warm.

Dense. Full-bodied. Chewy at times. Low carbonation.

Remarkable RIS. Founders did an excellent job of showcasing the naturally sweet characteristics of an imperial stout without making the brew a sugar bomb. I cannot recommend this beer enough!

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Photo of Slowjamcdub
4.16/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow, this blew me away. Perfect definition of an imperial stout. Amazing beer, under hyped for sure. Dessert beer very heavy very sweet very good. The blackest beer with the blackest head I've ever seen. Well done 8.9/10 Great beer!

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Photo of NateDyk47
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had a bottle of this at home.

Look: jet black with half a finger of dark brown head
Smell: dark chocolate, dark coffee, caramel
Taste: bitter dark chocolate & coffee
Feel: heavy body, not very carbonated

Overall: really solid beer from Founders. Not quite in line with KBS/CBS, but really close and much more available for a more reasonable price point.

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Photo of 11-52_4hops
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I am not sure how a stout could look any more appetizing -deep black color; thick - I've poured motor oil with less viscosity; nice tan head with significant lacing (or my glass is real dirty -- will give Founders the benefit of the doubt). Subdued nose - dark chocolate and malts. Taste - straight forward excellence -- not a lot of extra frills, but what this beer does, it does exceptionally well; like the nose, dark chocolate and malts, exceptional bitterness (yes the 75 IBU comes through). Mouth feel is silky smooth, nice carbonation, and a lingering bitterness (see 75 IBU again); high ABV masked a bit -- I think this one could catch up with you. Overall -- this is a truly outstanding Imperial Stout. Yet another example of Founders showing their expertise with dark beers.

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Photo of TheKlevin
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Textbook definition of an imperial stout. Amazing beer fresh or aged, I have bottles going back to 2011 and they all taste amazing. Extremely under hyped beer, and my favorite non adjunct non barrel aged stout.

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Photo of Zebulan
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Extremely dark pour with dark brown foam.
S: Not an overpowering smell but strong enough; dark malt and chocolate smell.
T: Warm from the start. Chocolate taste and a good bitter taste, espresso bitter.
F: Solid body. Warm all the way around.
O: I really like this. It is simple and pleasing stout but I know it is crafted extremely well. Any RIS fan would like to have this.

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Photo of rbenitez25
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Great pour and great head. Very much an imperial stout. Strong nose, roasted beans and chocolate with a bit licorice. Very much roasted coffee on the tongue. Mouthful of a beer.

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Photo of Nic1985Ace
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle with a bottling date of 11/24/15

L: Pours a rich dark black with a thick tan head that waterfalls down the glass like a Guinness.

S: Smells of dark chocolate, dark fruits, and roasted malt.

T: Taste is toasted nuts, dark chocolate, dates, plums. Alcohol is hidden well. Flavors open up nicely as it warms.

F: Smooth, good carbonation. Very nice going down.

O: This is a great stout. Not much not to like here. I was a little surprised by the fruitiness here, but it adds some nice character to the beer.

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Photo of EMH73
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a 3 finger mocha head, very well laced. Smells of roasted malts, chocolate and coffee. Tastes just as it smells with a slightly bitter finish. Founders does it again, another great beer.

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Photo of MIBeerGeek
4.11/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured deep black with a very deep mocha colored head that lingered for a bit. Smelled of roasted malts and chocolate, slight licorice smells as well. Tastes of roasted malts with a slight smoked malt under tone as it finishes dry and slightly bitter. Nice heavy winter beer that goes down well and is not overpowering or too hot. Overall I'm looking forward to enjoying a few more and aging a few out. Will run into more next year!

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