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:
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Reviews: 1,843 | Ratings: 7,679
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit sour Balkan, but that sourness was moderated. Smooth and rich to sip. Good appearance and chocolate roast aroma. Whisper of smoke. Medium to full mouthfeel. Good lunch accompaniment. I think you brought it in Wohlfs, so thank you. Second bottle sent by Dr. Jay and not sourness.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Kelly88/Exiled for each sending me a bottle of this.

Pours a super thick super black color with a very small 1/2 dark chocolate colored head that fades to nothing. Little lacing here and there on the glass. Smells very nice with coffee/espresso, bittersweet chocolate, alcohol, and slight soy sauce. Oddly, I also get a distinct aroma of onion dip. Taste is very rich with strong brewed coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and slight licorice. Slight coffee bitterness after each sip. There is a tiny bit of alcohol burn in the throat. Low carbonation makes this a very thick and creamy beer that coats the mouth. Overall, a great RIS that I am very happy I got to try.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Half finger dark tan head on a jet black body, some lacing. Aroma of dark chocolate, banana bread, coffee, vinegar, roasted malts and soap. Not very sweet smelling, mostly bitterness. Flavor is much better with a nice balance between confectioners semisweet dark chocolate and espresso beans, coffee bitterness on a roasted malt background. Thick body with carbonation a little greater than I want fore the style. I like the degree of earthiness and bitterness. Some of these has too much vanilla sweetness.

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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...

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Photo of Knapp85
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured out as a black thick looking liquid. The head was brown in color with a light lacing. The smell of the beer was heavily roasted with some burnt wood aromas in there too. The taste of the beer was good, it was roasted and bitter with a light sweetness in there too. The mouthfeel had a good oily thickness to it which was nice. It left a good coating in the mouth too. Overall this beer is pretty good.

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Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is absolutely jet black in color. It poured like motor oil with a thin mocha head that quickly vanished, leaving only a think ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of roasted malts in the nose.
T: The beer has flavors of dark roasted malts and a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels full-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation and some dryness in the finish.
O: The beer itself can be overwhelming, but it pairs well with cookies.

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

Founders simply kill it with all of their larger-than-life stouts. Although for some, their standard Imperial Stout seeps through the cracks because it's readily available when in season, for me its in the upper echelon of stouts anywhere, hands down.

As black, and nearly as thick, as 30 weight motor oil, the beer has an ultra inky appearance that reads like onyx to the eye and with absolute opaqueness. Terse on head character, the beer releases a tiny sheet of sand-stained foam before dissolving to a translucent film that evenly coats the surface midway through the session. Although retention gives way a little too soon and the lacing succumbs to the alcohol and viscosity, the beer still gives a time honored appearance of well crafted stouts.

Espresso, brownie batter, milk chocolate, cognac-like alcohols, and fudge aromas mingle about the nose with sultry and savory scents. These seduce the olfactory senses in ways that few beers can. Background notes of burnt fruit, such as cherries, red grapes, and currants inform the roasted malts but are careful to never rival the sweeter toasted scent.

Delicious chocolaty fudge and brownie flavors become a bridge from aroma to taste in effortless fashion. Backed with the firm bitterness of espresso roast, charred grain, and near-smoky woods, the beer becomes more than malty sweetness and balances the beer to near perfection. Those esters of charbroiled fruits accent the almost smoky elements and gives the nearly abrasive ten percent alcohols something to hide behind.

Without saying, the beer is certainly full bodied and then some. It's oily coat is awash in the mouth and saturates the membranes with full effect. The low-lying alcohols allow the beer to rest weightedly on the mouth and seeps into the tissues with a mesmerizing mouthfeel. The beer retains its structure well past where the finish is expected, even as the bitterness from hops and the alcohol warmth wants closure. It's indefinate linger blends seamlessly into the next sip even if minutes away. This is a dessert beer for sure!

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Photo of largadeer
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from WeisGuy. Thank you, Shane.

2010 batch. The body is black as pitch, the head a deep brown that quickly recedes to a thick collar.

Delicious oatmeal raisin cookie aroma. Dark chocolate and black licorice are equally prevalent. Alcohol is barely noticed.

The palate, like the aroma, is much like an oatmeal cookie. Rich, but not terribly sweet - there's a good balance of charred malt, black licorice and bittersweet chocolate. Full bodied, a little ashy and tar-y mid-palate. The finish is sticky, bittersweet, deceptively smooth for a 10.5% beer. There's no trace of alcohol, no harshness; it's a very mellow beer, though drinkability is hampered by the sheer richness of it.

On the whole, I don't enjoy this as much as Breakfast Stout or KBS, but it's a great beer nonetheless.

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Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the pre-2005 recipe as the bottle clearly states "Limited Edition on the top of the label."

Appearance: Pours a jet black inky color with a light brown head that hangs around for a good while and leaves some dots of lacing around the glass

Smell: Dark fruit, chocolate molasses, coffee and alcohol

Taste: Starts out with a chocolate and dark fruit mouthful that changes, after the swallow to some bitter tobacco flavors; slightly phenolic on the finish, which may be the result of age

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy; modest carbonation

Drinkability: A decent Impy Stout but I was expecting a bit more; may be because of the age, however - tasted again on 10/12/09 and drinks almost identically; just a touch less warmth from the alcohol and less phenolics - tasted in 2014 and has a lot more chocolate, no dark fruit and quite a bit of hops

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a medium dark brown foamy head with better then average retention. Aroma of deep black chocolate with slight roasted malt without any discernable hops. Taste is also dominated by the sweet black chocolate with some roasted malt. The taste is really sweeter then expected and I can’t seem to notice any hops or bitterness which kind of seems to be missing. Body is above average with a full creamy texture. Alcohol is very well hidden which is another plus. Nice and enjoyable but would have appreciated a higher hops profile.

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Photo of emerge077
4.36/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Grey label, bottle is notched on the top left, 4-pack is dated on the inside "Sep 30, 2004". From Orbitalr0x's blog, the 2005 has the purple trim label, therefore this is the 2004 edition. Also, no ABV listed on the bottle.

Served at 55-60º.
Pours into an Oerbier tulip an impenetrable black, like an espresso brownie. Head is a mocha creme, cascading with tiny bubbles. Irregular spotty lacing with the occassional patchwork of lace. Zero light gets through this one...

Rich milk chocolate aroma, with earthy malt in the background.

Huge chocolate and charred malts, espresso bean, lactic acid. Bitterness of baker's chocolate, long smoky char in the finish. Sweet and sticky on the lips. This stuff is pretty decadent. The full, impossibly smooth feel is akin to it's cousins KBS and Breakfast Stout. Milky texture. Every bit as smooth and delectable as KBS, but without the bourbon barrel influence.

Mellowed enough with time to diminish the alcohol burn of a fresh bottle. My first sample of this was a fresh one about 2 years ago, and I thought it was a monster. This aged bottle proves that it's possible to tame the boozy beast...

Notes: 3-year vertical '04-'06
2004: Mildly sweet chocolate, some oxidation/papery, chewy feel, slight tea-like aftertaste, possibly from age/oxidation.
2005: Slightly peppery, grapey, chocolate is more in the back, very long in the finish, bitterness has begun to fade.
2006: Peppery, licorice smell, definitely a greater hop presence, dryer & more alcoholic, some phenols and heat.

Thanks to Jay23 for upping the ante that made this vertical possible.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.56/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Founders Imperial Stout 2011 Vintage (bottled 12/22/11). Acquired from the very generous Duff27 in a trade. Thanks again, buddy! 10.50% ABV confirmed. I love Founders, so I have high hopes for this one. I haven't had it before, but I loved KBS and FBS. 90 IBUs. Label art is okay. 12 fl oz/355ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high given the brewery and style (which they seem to be adept at).

Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm considerably over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger rich vibrant hold-tan head of fantastic cream and thickness, and pretty good (3 minute) retention for the high ABV. I love that gilded tan appearance; few imperial stouts can really pull that off. Body colour is a solid nontransparent opaque jet black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Nice lacing as the head recedes. That's exactly how an imperial stout should look.

Sm: Burnt malt, light fennel/licorice, creamy roasted barley, dark malts, chocolate, chocolate malt, and hints of light buried stonefruit. Light molasses. Malty sweetness. I can detect some light alcohol, but it's not a hot or boozy aroma; I can tell age may have done this one well. Coffee roast when I look for it. A surprisingly timid aroma of mere average strength. Understated, but I'd stop short of calling the aroma subtle per se. The fennel/licorice has me worried; I have a personal aversion to that flavour.

T: The first thing I notice is the black coffee bitterness and chocolate bitterness on the climax - which is more pronounced than expected, but welcome. It's more sweet in the first and early second acts. Chocolatey throughout - dark chocolate, not milk chocolate, though there is some cream up front. Little alcohol comes through at all; this isn't boozy or hot in any way. Maybe a twinge of licorice, but it doesn't bother me. I could use more roast - both in terms of barley and coffee, but there is some here. Burnt malt is prominent and works well. Dark malts abound. It's well put together and cohesive. A balanced Russian Imperial Stout, if a timid one. I want more depth of flavour than I'm getting, and each note doesn't ring distinct. Good amplitude, to be sure, but because the execution of the amplitude is so high, I have trouble really enjoying each distinct flavour. Any hop character is generic floral and functions here purely as a preservative. It's a rich flavour, but not overly so. The bitterness keeps the richness in check. Low acidity. Not at all a harsh flavour profile; it's quite mellow. Good body and build for the style. It's complex and well done, but I want bolder flavours. I quite like it and it's a tasty brew, but it's not perfect.

Mf: Warm and lightly creamy. Excellent carbonation. Not at all astringent. Good body here. It's smooth and wet. Thick and a bit chewy. Maybe a touch oily. Good presence on the palate. Complements the flavour profile well, even feeling a bit custom-tailored towards it. A bit smacky (if you will). I could use a touch more coarseness and dryness.

Dr: Drinkable for the style, but you wouldn't down it by the glass. It hides its ABV well and is an enjoyable sipper. It's a solid brew from Founders, but it's not quite on the level of KBS or even FBS, styles taken into consideration and all. I'd get it again and it's quite tasty, but it's not exemplary. A good Russian Imperial Stout that fans of the style will be pleased with, but it's not amongst the best out there. I'd recommend it to friends, but Founders does make better beers. I'll have little trouble finishing my bottle, but I do wish I had someone to split it with. Thanks again for the opportunity to try this, Duff27!

Low B

Probably best aged for 1-3 years.

Would pair well with chocolate or truffle.

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Photo of zeff80
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, black as oil color with no head to speak of at all. It left soapy residue on the glass.

S - It smelled of coffee, chocolate and roasty malts. There were some vanilla notes.

T - It tasted of dark chocolate and roasted malt with some bitter, sharp hop presence. There were touches of vanilla and boozy alcohol flavors.

M - It was soft, smooth and somewhat creamy. A medium to full-bodied beer with a warm alcohol presence.

D - This is a pretty good RIS. No surprise that Founders has yet another great beer in their lineup.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

G: 18-ounce glass snifter.

A: Pours a thick, dark, opaque liquid, reminiscent of Hershey's syrup in color. Starts off with about a finger-and-a-half of head that is nutty in color. There are a decent amount of carbonation bubbles visible on the top of the head, and the head recedes quickly to about half a finger. Decent amount of lacing as it goes down.

S: Very smeet malt smell from the start, fading into a calming alcohol presence. Hints of dark, unsweetened chocolate and a subtle whiff of coffee. Little to no hop presence, although I cannot be sure how old this beer is, as I don't believe it has any sort of bottled-on date.

T: The initial taste first brings a sweetness that hits the back corners of the mouth--reminds me of the feel of green apple Jolly Ranchers in the mouth, though with much less pungency. A mild caramel biscuit flavor underneath the sweetness.

M: Medium-bodied and crisp. Mild carbonation on the tongue and crisp as it goes down. Maybe just a little bit hot in the mouth--I'd bet the mouthfeel would be sublime with a year or two on it.

D: Quite savory. Not quite as complex as Expedition, although it'll definitely factor into the rotation. I'll definitely lay a couple of these down to see how the flavor profile develops over time.

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Photo of oberon
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an ink black color with deep mocha colored head that leaves a nice sheet of lace behind,aromas of rum and butter dominate but there is a slight presence of grassy hop that adds to the aroma complexities.Think and full mouthfeel with rich buttery flavors with a rum/alcohol finish that really warms the inside and is very sustaining.Wow a big badass impy stout with tons of complexities Iam glad I have more to say the least.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:
Shared by John (MaxStout) - thanks

A: Pours straight black with orangish edges and a decent mocha head fading to the edge. Minimal lace.

S: Roasty oat grains, floral hops, faint dark chocolate and coffee.

T: Roasted malts, dark chocolates, oats are well balanced.

M: Thick and smooth, slick and tongue coating. Somewhat dry and bitter on the finish.

O: Very good and enjoyable. Would seek this out.

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

A: A super dark thick frothy head rises up 1 finger and slowly fades over pitch black and super thick beer.

N: Lots of roast, chocolate, hops, dark malts, with some bittering hops. Mostly dark malts, crystal, roasted, chocolate, etc. That adds some sweet aromas and syrupy too. THen come bitter hops with some earthy and spicy hop aromas. A little coffee too.

T: Pretty rich, lots of malts again, with lots of roast, a little chocolate, crystal, etc. This time some smoked malts too with some smoked flavor and even smoked gouda cheese or smoked cured meats. Chewy malts with all that. Touch of chocolate, some good roast and coffee. Some bitterness as well, some from roasted malts but quite a bit of hops too. Hops come in the earthy spicy variety. Semi smooth and a little creamy, but thick and chewy at the same time.

M: very thick and chewy, somewhat smooth and a little syrupy with decent carbonation.

F: Bitter! It has quite a bit of bitterness, mostly from the charred malts. WIth that is a touch of minerality and little soy sauce but not much. THere are also some hops that come in the finish adding more bitterness and earthy flavors. Lingering roast and some coffee, as well as perhaps black patent malt dark flavors. A little stickiness, but not as much as I expected for how thick and chewy it is. It also hides the booze well and drinks more like a 7-8% rather than 10.5%.

I love this stout, lots of dark malts, chewy, bitter, hoppy, and overall pretty drinkable. A nice roast, coffee, and chocolate addition as well but not over the top in any. Best of all is the price landing this at about $4 for a 12oz which is much more affordable than most great RIS beers.

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

On tap at stubs. Served in a goblet.

Small tan head, good because I got more beer. Fades down after a bit but leaves splattered lace. Color is a dark black.

Aroma: lots of roasted malts and chocolate. Nice toffee and caramel flavors with tons of dark dried fruits. Cherries, raisin, and plums. Very rich. Reminds me of expedition.

Taste: big malty profile. Some roasted flavors and coffee flavors. Nice blend of cherries and raisins. Lots of chocolate malt and some grassy hops. Well done.

Mouthfeel: a little syrupy, but smooth. Medium amount of carbonation with a pretty full body. Ends sweet and malty.

Overall, a pretty solid beer and it reminded me a lot of expedition. Very solid and I can't wait to age my bottles. A very well done imp stout. Worth a try.

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

On tap at Founders.

Pours black as night with a thin head of a burnt mocha colored tan creamy foam. Retention is very nice and wouldn't quit, leaving behind some spotty lacing and brown oily residue down the sides of the glass. The aroma is a tingling mix of roasted bitterness and heat, chocolate sweetness, zippy coffee character, and dark fruit tartness.

The taste is rich, roasted bitterness right off the bat that melds into chocolate and molasses sweetness, additional bitter coffee notes, and a dark fruit tang in the backend. Finishes with a combo of bitter notes and warm, tart sweetness. The mouthfeel is full, rich and creamy with the alcohol presence adding beefiness and warmth to the overall feel.

Wow, this is pretty much the definition of a RIS. Founders leaves nothing out with a complex taste and aroma that is held up by a muscular yet approachable body. I'm definitely getting a case of this next time it's released. Great stuff!

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

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 12/29/2011. Pours thick pitch black color with a small dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, char, smoke, toast, cocoa, light dark fruit, and earthy hops; a bit of alcohol as it warms up. Damn nice aromas with good balance, strength, and complexity. Taste of huge espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt, char, smoke, toast, cocoa, and earthy hops. Good amount of roasted coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt, char, smoke, toast, and cocoa on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance and complexity of roasted flavors; with a great hop/roast balance; and some slight cloying bitterness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Russian imperial stout as expected. Great balance, robustness, and complexity of roasted flavors; and very smooth to slowly sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

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

From a fairly fresh bottle, packaged in March and consumed in June. Beautiful label. Standard cap on a screw-top Heritage bottle.

This extremely dark stout is completely opaque without even the slightest, darkest mahogany edge. The tight, creamy, dark tan head has a fire-like orange tint to it; but unfortunately thins in short time to an average collar. It initially leaves some short walls of lace, but after several sips all that are left are transient spots and splashes.

The nose is surprisingly restrained given its intense hue. Still, delicate notes of vinous fruit (plums/prune) combine with a touch of scortched caramel and cold espresso to leave it enticing.

The body is full, and although it's initially somewhat zesty, it does settle to become creamy once it warms.

The flavor is almost too intense to take in at once, and that's OK because as it warms more and more becomes revealed to you. Initially, it's dark roastiness dominates, allowing some espresso-like notes and the occassional flash of almost-burnt caramelized sugar to come through. As it warms, however, it opens up to reveal much more fruitiness including the traditional "burnt currant"; more dark fruits (plum, raisin, date); and some citrus/tropical character (pineapple, sweet grapefruit, melon). The coffee-like flavors increase as well, and in addition to a note of rich, dark chocolate toffee there's a full note of mocha java (sweet and bitter - perfectly balanced). Some piney hops emerge towards the finish, and they certainly come through in the burp! It finishes with a spritz of alcohol; some of the 'juicy' dark fruit (with some burnt raisin thrown in as well); and a fog of dark roasted notes that linger in the mouth and down the throat in an amazingly long lasting finish.

Full Throttle!!! Worth seeking.

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Photo of chinchill
4.01/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 release in a 12 oz bottle served in a pint glass or (2015) snifter. Plenty of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. By the time I revisited this in Oct. 2015, there was enough sediment stuck to the bottom of the bottle to leave it completely black and opaque -- and the beer was better.

Small light brown head is short-lived but leaves spotty lacing on the glass. Thick, opaque, black-brown liquid.

An earthy barleywine-meets-stout aroma, with some of the ample ABV showing. Rich dark roasted malts with hints of coffee, toffee and dark chocolate, and a stronger impression of dark fruits. This profile is more or less repeated in the taste, although the flavor is not exactly what the aroma portends: It is less sour, more bitter, and less fruity. Very rich, with an over-the-top, strong flavor from dark malts, with enough hop load to contribute to the taste beyond just the substantial bittering (IBU = 90!). More coffee in both the nose and mouth, as well as improved flavor with warming.

Feel: light carbonation; smooth and very full body. Can feel the alcohol on the tongue, and in the warming on the way down.

O: an extreme beer. The sheer strength, relatively high bitterness, too much sourness, plus some hints of smoke and burnt malt make this beer a bit of a challenge when fresh. Much better with some age, but not up with Breakfast Stout.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pennzoil 10W-40 black. Does motor oil have highlights? I didn't think so. The fudge colored cap is one of the darkest that I've ever seen and is an imposing three fingers immediately after the pour. It looks as though I'll have to time its descent with a calendar, so my lace assessment will have to wait. I'm being so impatient because the glass is more than a foot from my nose and the beer smells absolutely wonderful.

It smells fantastic up close too. Founders says that they use 10 varieties of malt in Imperial Stout. That may be true, but the lion's share of the total just has to be chocolate and black because the nose is as dark and as aggressive as the color. Most of each noseful is made up of ridiculously roasted barley that oozes aromas of bittersweet chocolate, blackstrap molasses and ground espresso beans. Incredibly, I can also appreciate a whiff of tangy citric hops.

There's no letdown on the palate. In fact, it's even better in the mouth than it was in the nose, something that I didn't think was possible. This is one of the most shockingly flavorful Imperial stouts in existence. Screw Spinal Tap's amps, this sucker goes to 12! Take no chances, drink this beer at or near room temperature for maximum taste bud slappage.

The best part about the flavor profile (other than the fact that it's as deep as the Marianas Trench) is the concentrated, almost liqueur-like flavor and the fact that anise is so prominent. I don't remember a beer that showcases that particular flavor to this degree. American-grown hops play a major role as well; a stunning achievement in a beer that, by my best guess, is about 16 months old.

I was going to say (prior to popping the cap at least) that I'm glad that some brewers are releasing their high-ABV beer in 12 ounce bottles since an entire bomber is tough to get through on occasion, depending on the time of day, circumstances, etc. When the beer is this mind-blowingly delicious though, I'll take the biggest bottle the brewery can muster and let the chips (and me) fall where they (I) may.

Beer this big deserves a body to match. Thankfully, one has been provided. It's been a while since I drank a stout with this much chewy malt. It's almost milkshake-like! Crack open a thesaurus, look up the word creamy and insert what you see in the following sentence: Founders Imperial Stout's mouthfeel is incredibly <insert>. Thanks, you've just saved me a little time and effort.

I continue to be floored by Founders Brewing Company. As long as they continue to brew beer like Imperial Stout (and so many others), they'll have a perennial spot in my top-10 breweries in America. This is a stunning beer that caught me a little off-guard with just how good it is. There are scores of great RISs out there. Founder's version can hang with the best of them and then some.

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

Passed along to me via kp. Thanks, kp! The age of the bottle is unknown to me.

Appearance: Pours a deep, heavy, black body with a thin, brief, dark tan head.

Smell: Bold, assertive roasted malt aroma layered with rich, yet slightly sweet-smelling notes along with a particularly fruit background scent of plums and prunes.

Taste: Why, it's a whole myriad of malt flavors: bittersweet chocolate, dark caramel, blackened grains, espresso-flavored oatmeal, licorice, and molasses. Again, there's a big pop of fruitiness, now followed by a drizzle of sherry. Slight roasty, earthy bitterness midway. Pinch of Latakia pipe tobacco. Minor hints of peppery alcohol. There's a pleasant interplay of concentrated fruit and roasted malt flavors prior to the drying, roasty finish. A taste of charred sugars lasts into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium-low carbonation. Smooth, tongue-battering mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Dense, succulent malt flavors and pleasantly warming throughout, though, for the most part, the alcohol content remains rather well-hidden. It would not be advantageous at all for you to pass up this one.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.07/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Acquired from fogdog courtesy of the Secret Bunny 2009 BIF, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin light brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of rich roasted malts, chocolate, some dark fruit, some coffee and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a very hearty roasted malt character and bitter-sweet flavors of rich creamy chocolate and some coffee and dark fruit. The hops presence is mild but where it should be for the style and brings a good balance. The after-taste is bitter-sweet.

M: Smooth and a little crisp, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, strong but well-disguised kick, good representation of style, I have a feeling I might have let this one sit a little too long (at least two years, possibly longer) but it's still a good big stout worth drinking for a long time.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,679 ratings.
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