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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:
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Reviews: 1,843 | Ratings: 7,680
Photo of bens0n
4.36/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This beer pours an oily, opaque black with a small amount of dark tan head. Not too much lacing going on, head fades pretty quick. Definitely passes the opaque test though.

On the nose I can pick up on an almost sweet caramel/toffee/butterscotch note. Little bit of chocolate too. Doesn't really smell like an imperial stout, but its got a real nice syrupy kind of thing going on.

Flavor wise, theres a sweet and subtle start, it finishes with a kind of bitter, smokey aftertaste, not very hoppy. Not boozy at all, really well blended.

Mouthfeel is just like you would expect, thick and syrupy, nice and smooth, low level of carbonation too.

Overall, excellent imperial stout.

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

Wow. I just poured this into a pint glass about 10 minutes ago and I feel as though I've been missing something all my life. This is an exceptional beer.

Pours like thin motor oil with no head and a bit of lacing. Smells like a chocolate bar or brownies - very inviting. Taste is chocolatey with some coffee notes. Very creamy and full bodied - I could drink this all night. A super dessert beer - would probably be great with some ice cream...

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

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

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Photo of CowsandBeer
3.69/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a Bruery tulip glass. Bottled on 12/02/2014.
Appearance: Pours a half finger of dark brown head with a reddish tint. Body is completely black as expected with nice creamy lacing on the sides. Not unlike Yeti.
Aroma: Lots of burnt black malts, brown sugar, super dark chocolate, some roasted coffee and cream, and a slight vinous note.
Taste: Burnt black malts, bitter coffee and cream, and a warming spike of booze in the middle with a bitter green finish.
Mf: Starts with a creamy and heavy mouthfeel and ends on a dry and chalky note.
Overall: A big hefty American stout that I struggle to drink. It’s got nice notes of dark roasted coffee and cream but these are overtaken by lots of burnt black malts and a bitter finish. As it warms it does mellow out a bit and becomes more enjoyable. Imagine chocolate covered espresso beans, awesome for some, too much for others.

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Photo of GatorBeerNerd
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz single purchased at City Beverage in Winston-Salem, NC in early Feb, 2009. Poured into a standard pint glass.

A: Almost a completely dead pour. There was a covering of bubbles there for a split second that was a nice tan color. Loses points for lacing and retention since there is nothing there to generate them. The color of the beer is a perfect jet black. Only the slightest highlights of reddish brown around the edge of the surface when held up to the light.

S: The aroma is dominated by dark roasted malts with hints of coffee and chocolate. A pleasant aroma.

T: I almost expected a roasted to the point of burnt taste from the nose. I was pleasantly surprised with a very nice roasted malt flavor that was by no means over done. Nice espresso like coffee flavor and some piney hop notes help make the finish have a nice bitterness. A bit of a molasses taste comes through at times along with chocolate, but they seem to be in the background. One of the best RIS I have ever had from a 12 oz bottle.

M: Its big and thick as you would hope for in the style. Creamy and smooth.

D: The drinkability is almost too good for the style. I would not have guessed the ABV was as high as it is listed. Unlike so many other RIS, I do not have to sip it slowly.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Pours out an inky jet black. A bit of tan, creamy head sits atop it, leaving behind a decent amount of lacing. Smells are of roasted coffee, and I mean a lot of roasted coffee, a bit of sweet malts in the background along with some alcohol. Taste is of bitter, roasted coffee, and alcohol. Has just a bit of sweetness which helps to balance it out. Very smooth and thick, very little carbonation. Pretty drinkable despite the high alcohol content. Overall, a very good beer and a recommendation for any fan of RIS's.

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

Appearance- Wow! This beer pours like very used motor oil with a low light brown head. Good lacing and decent retention.

Smell- Roasty malts, dark coffee and a bit creamy

Taste- rich,thick coffee, sweet molasses, raisins, a bit of dark chocolate, some bitter hops

Mouthfeel- Thick as the aforementioned 10 w 40.

Drinkability- High ABV and huge flavor and still pretty smooth and drinkable. But if you try to knock down a bunch of these you'll end up crocked.

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Photo of PlinyBeMiney
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is my second time trying this beer. A lot of imperial stouts try hard to be balanced an master the style, but few succeed. The midnight color and tan fizzy head personify this classic style. Carbonation is nice and dances everytime I swirl the glass. Smell is somewhat muted. Dark and roasty malts, but nothing really pops out. The taste is what sets this beer apart. There is a lightly roasted mocha caramel blend that would be an awesome Starbucks flavor if it could be implemented. The roast is subtle, not overcome by coffee like our KBS cousin. The acidity is lax as well which exemplifies the creaminess of its texture. I'm drinking this on a highly humid night where it's more that 75 degrees outside and enjoying the heck out of this beer. Stouts aren't just for warming you up, especially if they are as well crafted as this one.

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Photo of CurtFromHershey
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours like frothy motor oil. Pitch black with brown edges when held to light. Funky, beige head which subsides surprisingly quickly for how dense it starts.

Smell is mildly roasty with hints of mocha. Surprising dark fruit undertones. Pleasant.

Taste is more toffee and burnt molasses than the nose would lead on. Bitter, nondescript hop presence. Good flavor, but I think a bit of age would help as the hops detract from the flavors in this case. No booziness detected.

Mouthfeel is thick and lush. No complaints other than maybe slightly too carbonated.

Overall a fantastic beer which I will seek out again.

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Photo of gameface23
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: It looked like I poured motor oil into my glass - it "glugged" from the bottle in a similar manner. Completely opaque black. Not much of a head, but what is there is as dark as any head I've ever seen.

S: Chocolate, slight hops, dark fruit, and must.

T: Roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, and a slight alcohol burn.

M: "Viscous as shit" comes to mind. I seriously think if one of the trucks that are used to distribute this ever broke down on the highway, they could pour a bottle of this into it instead of oil and be on their merry way. I had to look in the mirror to see if it was still coating my teeth.

D: For a 10.5% beer, this thing is a champ.

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Photo of RiverCityBeerGuy
3.91/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Sweet T's in Duck NC. Pour is dark as can be with a thin wisp of dark tan head that dwindles to a corona around the edge of a tulip glass.

Aroma is coffee, chocolate, soy sauce. Very roasty with a hint of booze, although surprisingly little all things considered.

Flavor is the expected chocolate, coffee. Also pick up hazelnut in there. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is thick, feels a little foamy on the tongue. The 90 IBU's make themselves felt for a while on the finish.

Not exactly a beach drinkc but this is a great answer to a week full of wheats and IPA's.

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Photo of deejaydan
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice Impy stout from Founders. Pours thick and viscous, like Motor Oil. Minimal head and lacing. Dark as night. Smells collide of sweet yet roasted malts and alcohol. Taste and mouthfeel come together. This is tastes as thick as it pours. The Alcohol is present in the taste, and there's not a ton extra, other than the roasted malts playing along. It's a solid example of the style, but not quite nailing it for me.

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Photo of TheJollyHop
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12/15/2014 poured into a TeKu glass:

L: Foam consists of a chocolate brown roux-like hue on top of an opaque, black body. Benchmark appearance that maintains a head that's indicative of the gravity of this brew.
S: Whiffs of plastic along with grass clippings (both usual indications in my experience of a beer that will benefit from extended bottle cellaring), earthy chocolate, and alcohol,
T: Grassy hop notes upfront, long cooking chocolate/bitter finish with notes of dried tobacco leaves and smoke. Alcohol warmth attacks mid sip and doesn't let go. Balance slanting towards bitterness at this time, which is to be expected with little more than a month in the bottle.
F: Velvety texture and full body that leaves a slick coating on the tongue.
O: On my top five list of non-barrel aged, commercially available, imperial stouts.

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Photo of zoolzoo
3.55/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage

A: Inky black, coffee bean head.

S: Roasted malt, coffee, smoke, dark chocolate.

T: Dark chocolate and charred flavors at play with a little hop zing. Pure cocoa and black coffee in the finish with woody tannins, very bitter, a notable lack of sweetness. Mostly roasted characteristics.

M: Creamy, well carbed but not over carbed. The flavor profile does not call for "motor oil" as a descriptor, not enough residual sugars.

D: Good beer, but one and done.

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Photo of dleigh
4.97/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the platonic ideal of an imperial stout. Jet black with dark brown head. Waves of chocolaty, roasty, molasses creamy malt. Some anisy hops. A little sweet but not too much. Rich on the tongue.

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Photo of adamdarcy
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After coveting this for so long...Finally I found it at a local store (Park Place Liquor in Grosse Point, MI!)

Delightful! Too drinkable for the ABV...I could guzzle these things! Not that there's not some slight hop presence and carbonation, but not too much. Really just balanced so great.

The only small drawback for me was the mouthfeel. It was like a protein powder that I tried to stir by hand into a glass of milk, and the powder just hadn't blended in completely. But the roasty, coffee, dark chocolate smell, with the commensurate taste outdid the "grainy" mouthfeel by a mile.

Seek this out and try some!!

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Photo of mondegreen
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz into a Founders Tulip. Bottled 11/20/09.

Pours dark as night with a half finger mocha head. Looks decadent.

Big and roasty nose. Lots of dark chocolate. Smells delicious.

Taste is just as big as the nose. Huge dark chocolate notes take center stage. A touch of heat on the finish.

Rich and velvety. Dead on.

This is a wonderful RIS. It fits right in with Founders stellar stout lineup.

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Photo of SHDoyle
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Description: Pours black as black can be. Inky, with no light coming through. Looks thick and creamy as it comes out of the bottle, almost like milk but, as mentioned, black. Smell was a little faint, with roasty notes and dark fruit. As it warmed there seemed to be some earthy, wood scent. Taste is mostly dark fruit, dark chocolate and roastiness. Small but noticeable amount of bitterness on the finish. Feel is a bit thinner than expected, more 'creamy' than 'syrupy'...if that makes any sense. More carbonation than normal for a RIS.

Suggested food pairing: Peanut butter brownies

If you like this beer then you should also try: Bell's 30th Anniversary

Overall: 4.25 (This beer is good and I would likely drink it again) Pretty strong all around although no real "WOW" factor. Would probably be pretty fantastic aged in bourbon barrels. Would make a good sipping beer on a cold night.

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours like motor oil, with a two finger chocolate mouse head. Aroma is dark fruit, chocolate. Taste is chocolate, light roast, and light dark fruit on the back end. Mouthfeel is creamy and heavy, but smooth. Overall a great imperial stout, one of the best I've had.

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Photo of zoober911
4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L - Pours black as night. Looks smooth and thick. Half a finger of brown head. Nice lacing when swirled. Coats the glass not quite like cough syrup, but any more and you would think it was. Head falls back into the glass and leaves a ring of tiny bubbles dancing the edge of the glass.

S - Smells of chocolate. Roasted coffee. And more chocolate, caramel. Some alcohol but barely discernible.

T - Taste is on the same field as the nose. Chocolate, caramel, roasted coffee. Very delightful.

F - Smooooth. Silky. Creamy. Thicker feel that coats your mouth nicely. Very desirable.

O - Overall this is one of the better stouts available on the shelf that isn't limited release or difficult to find. A great representation of the style and a must have for the uninitiated. Easily a go-to stout for anyone.

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Photo of Thur123
3.86/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is dark coffee black and about 99% opaque. Very little head from a generous pour. Looks heavy. The smell is cocoa with robust malts, a bit of molasses and an edge of something sweet like cream. The hops show up as a slight but balancing bitterness.

Glug glug glug

A big roasted malt flavor with notes of bitter chocolate, mellow cocoa, smoke, there's also a charred taste too. The hops show up much bigger in the taste with a significant bitter herbal hop edge showing up in the middle of the flavor and riding through the after taste. The mouth feel is thick and very heavy. This is good but has too much of a hop flavor to shine as a really tasty stout to me...Not quite complex enough in the malt.A very well made beer but not my favourite stout by any means.

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

The people at Founders know something about stouts that the rest of us dont... This one pours a viscous brown/black, only brown when light passes through it, with a very thing dark brown head which settles quickly. Beautiful. Smells quite chocolaty but with no espresso presence really like breakfast stout, a bit of hop is in there for blance. The taste is very dark chocolaty, especially in the aftertaste.. A bit of burnt bread in there as well.. Some caramel-like cola flavor. Its very smooth and has a really good amount of balance (though certainly not hoppy) and it gets AMAZING once it settles around cellar to room temp. The mouth is viscous and thick, coating the mouth with a sweet, dark taste AND feeling which is close to perfect. Carbonation is subtle but present, more noticeable immediately on the tip of the tongue then fades.
Its very smooth and just great.. I really had to search for reasons NOT to give it an A+ (as amazing as it is, Ive had Canadian breakfast stout and that is certainly their crown jewel.

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Photo of foogerd
4.16/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours like an oil spill, slick and slippery out of the bottle. Black as night, a head is produced that has this gorgeous deep dark coffee color, sexiest head I've ever seen. A real looker of a brew.

S- Smoked anise, lots of roast character, dark cacao chocolate, a creamy lactose aroma wafts over. A bit of sharp bitter booze.

T- Totally an anise/black licorice bomb, with dark chocolate and burnt bitter coffee taste at the finish, packaged in a tasty very drinkable format.

M- Very smooth slick body, low carbonation but very appropiate.

D- A foward in your face Russian Imperial Stout that goes down with ease. Whats unique here is that this brew is big all around, in flavor and abv, yet its drinkability gives you the ability to enjoy all its robustness. Would pair excellently with a creamy rich desert.

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Photo of CMUbrew
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Deepest black in color with a very dark brown head forming briefly. Looks quite viscous pouring into the glass.

S: Plenty of roast-char aroma, dark malt, and slight dark fruit aroma.

T: Darkly roasted malt with a nice charred edge. Solid bitterness that blots out any possible sweetness. Little to no alcohol is noticeable initially.

M: Thick, silky, and smooth to an extreme degree. Nearly perfect feel on this.

O: The best non-BA stout I've had, and likely one of the best out there.

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

I think I never saw a thicker and creamier head, of pure chocolate brown, on top of a darker liquid. The smell is fantastic: chocolate, vanilla, hints of peat, espresso. Kind of a drying aroma. The taste diverges heavily toward tobacco and cocoa powder. A hint of licorice in the long finish. Very thick, oily and heavy but no alcohol around. One of the best imperial stout I have ever had.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,680 ratings.
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