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: 1,868 | Ratings: 7,787
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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Photo of billab914
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Bruery tulip. Poured a thick black color with a moderate dark tan head on it. The head all but faded away after a few minutes, but left some very good spider web lacing.

The aroma really has a lot of dark chocolate flavors coming through. A little coffee along with some roasted malts also play a pretty big role. A little malty, chocolaty, sweetness helps balance it out a bit. Very pleasant aroma.

The taste shows a lot of dark, bitter, chocolate to it with some coffee and roasted, slightly burnt malts coming through. It has just a hint of chocolaty sweetness to it as well. The chocolate flavors are excellent for a beer without actual chocolate added, that I know of at least.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side and moderately creamy. Carbonation is moderate. Drinkability is very good, it was a great beer to sip on this evening. The chocolate, bitter flavors were particularly nice. Excellent beer overall.

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Photo of nickd717
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle via trade from rtravers, back in my first trade ever in early 2009. Transcribing my review from notes. 12oz bottle.

Pours black and thick with a tan head.

Aroma of roast, coffee, chocolate, and slight hops.

Flavor is coffee, roast, chocolate, earth, molasses, and slight hop bitterness.

Full and smooth and rather creamy on the palate. Soft carbonation.

A very good and underappreciated RIS overall. Should get more hype.

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Photo of robwestcott
3.85/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured thick and black as night from the bottle to a dogfish head signature glass with a thin dark toffee head with minimal retention. next bottle i'll pour with purpose and see if the head's a bit better...

aroma is a bit roast-y following dark figs and plums.

much sweeter than expected, i'm not getting the coffee other reviewer's have noted, leaning more toward raisins, figs, dark molasses, maple and maybe a bit of chocolate malt.

very thick on the tongue, medium carbonation, very smooth and silky.

drinkable ? maybe 2, but no more.

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Photo of tpd975
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Since it is in the top 100 now figured I may as well pull it out of the beer fridge and rate it.

A: Pours a deep dark motor oil black. Nice tall tan head. Great retention and some solid lace.

S: Wonderful rich roasted aromas, strong coffee, chocolate malt, and mild vanilla. Light molasses and a touch of dark fruit.

T: Bold bold coffee, actually espresso. Dark chocolate with mild dark fruit notes. A touch of anise and a hint of herbal hops.

M: Rather full in body, big rich, and smooth.

D: Great an awesome stout.

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Photo of squaremile
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

HOLY SMOKES! Winter 09-10 vintage. This beer is insane! Pours straight up motor oil black. Some brown bubbles around the edges of the glass. The nose is decadent! Cocoa, espresso, molasses, licorice, vanilla, and booze. Taste is amazing. All of the above as flavors with a touch of hop bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Flavor is HUGE. Mouthfeel is medium heavy, very smooth. Drinkability is pretty great considering the intensity of the flavors and the abv. This is one of my fav stouts ever. Maybe 6 more months and this would be at it's peak with the alcohol, which has the tiniest harshness left, which is the only ding for me. Amazing surprise considering how unassuming the bottle is and how under-hyped this is.

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Photo of vince4953529
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one hell of an opaque beer, with minimal carbonation to boot.
It tastes a bit chocolate-ly, and it's rich and smooth without the boozy effects.

This drinks supremely easy, just wish it is available easily in CA so it would become my daily session beer.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured into my glass to a finger of brown head. This beer is black. The head looks pretty thick. This is one sexy looking beer. The aroma is just about every dark scent you can imagine: chocolate, coffee, molasses, licorice, and some alcohol. The taste is alcohol forward at first. As the offering warms up it recedes with the bakers cocoa and coffee coming to the forefront. The taste is slightly bitter, but not too much. The mouthfeel is nice and viscous. This is a beer that I have been eying in the fridge for several months now. It was well worth the wait.

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

Poured into a snifter from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a very thick black with a 1/4 inch head. Very minimal lacing on the glass. Looks just like motor oil, even with the resin on the glass as the beer moves.

S - Strong aroma of roasted malts and molasses. No real alcohol presence in the nose, at least its very well hidden.

T - The thick roasted malts, coffee, and bitter cocoa coat the palate, and leave the taste lingering long after the swallow. No hops are present and the alcohol content is very well hidden, appearing only briefly in the finish. This is my idea of an RIS!!

M - Heavy bodied with very low carbonation. Very smooth. Perfect body for an RIS.

D - Great flavor and body! Nose is strong and inviting. The only drawback to a beer like this is the higher abv keeping this from being a sessionable taste. Great example of the style!!

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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!

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hey, a black ass IS from a great brewery. Shocking! Big beige to brown head on it. This is a big ol' boy. Aroma, thick chococoffee smell, alcohol.

Taste, rich, luscious, not at all menacing. Big time roasting. A little bit of smoke and chocolate taste wise. I can't get over how easy this is to drink, its like an imperial oatmeal stout or something. Founders is the best stout maker in the world, variety wise. I mean, BS, KBS and this? Geez. Even the bitterness and hopping are up to par. This beer is chock full o everything.

A great price on the Founder's IS too? What more can you ask for. . . well a KBS I guess. Its 'almost' that good, just not as complex.

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Photo of donniecuffs
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Update, 3/31/2011...tried this for the first time on draft at the Mohawk House, Sparta, NJ. Appearance same as before, possibly a little more lacing. The smell was a much bigger bouquet of cocoa powder, milk chocolate, and a bit of anise. The taste mirrored the nose, with a huge midpalate presence of velvety chocolate flavor, progressing to a dry cocoa powder and licorice finish. Alcohol definitely evident in the finish as well. Great, smooth slightly thick feel. This beer was much, much better on draft; my only criticism would be just a little too much alcohol and licorice on the finish. Otherwise an excellent imperial stout.

Poured black into a stemmed Brooklyn glass, with a thin tan head, no carbonation, and average lacing. Smelled of bittersweet chocolate, raisins, soap, and a big alcohol presence. The taste revealed roasted coffee bean with some dark chocolate, and finishing on a dry coffee note punctuated by the strong alcohol content, which was evident throughout. Not much evident of the dark fruit in the flavor as was detected in the aroma. Very thick, non-carbonated, slick mouthfeel as well. The all-around harshness of the alcohol flavor suggested that this beer warranted a healthy amount of time in the cellar. As such, I'd like to buy another and give it a second chance, but throw it in the basement for three years before drinking it.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,787 ratings.
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