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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: 7,681
Photo of sevenarts
4.87/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brownish black, with a modest head that nevertheless leaves nice lacing behind.

S: Molasses, fruits, burnt roasted aromas.

T/M: Rich, layered flavors, the sweet of the molasses and fruit notes blended seamlessly with bitter, toasted flavors, some coffee, subtle nutty accents, so much going on here. And yet it all goes down really smooth.

O: This is just amazing and delicious.

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Photo of ccg
4.11/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2015-12-02. Opened 2016-01-14.
Wow, this beer looks amazing. It has the thick, motor oil look you'd expect from a top-tier stout, but I can't remember the last time I've seen this kind of head on a beer. It's at least a full inch of foam, thick with tiny bubbles, and it's dark brown. As it settles, it leaves a ton of lacing on the glass and lightens in color, settling into a thin, tan-colored layer with some larges bubbles around the edge. If you swirl it around, you can see a million tiny bubbles marching through the legs.
The smell is initially all roasted malt with some coffee and cocoa notes. Unfortunately, if the beer is served too cold (straight out of a standard refrigerator), the smell fades quickly.
The flavor is coffee, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and smoke, all under a layer of slight hoppy bitterness. As it warms, the finish seems to become lighter and less bitter.
It's smooth and somewhat chewy, but it does not have the viscosity I expected from the way it looked when poured.
A beautifully well-made imperial stout.

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Photo of fastsrt
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured 12 ounce bottle in a snifter.

A: tried to entice a head, but it came out like oil and left a thin deep brown head that lasted for a few minutes.

S: roasted malts, alcohol, citrus, mellow.

T: russian imperial stout at its best.

M: smooth creamy, rich, lingering.

D: this beer leaves an impression, it is perfect. this is a must try for people who somewhat like this style beer, I had this one draft as well the head was better, and had more carbonation. The bottle is better.

This beer is an A+ but, it didn't look as sexy as others.

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

L - poured into a founder sniffer glass. Chocolate brown thick creamy head with a dark black thick body
S - chocolate, coffee, toffee, maple, sweet, malty
T - just like the smell. Chocolate, toffee up front with a malty sweet caramel maple after taste
F - super smooth beer that goes down easy w low carbonation. This is a thick beer you can chew on that really coats the palate
O - when it comes to imperial stouts, this is the best I've ever had. A sexy looking beer full of flavor and a thick body that you can chew on. Founders never disappoints and this is a great stout that meets everything that you want in an imperial stout.

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

A: Viscous black with almost no light even coming through the edges. Pours the consistency of cough syrup and has about a two finger dark tan head

S: Very, very roasty. I'm getting a bit of caramel and burnt hazelnuts. Also getting a little bit of coffee and dark chocolate

T: Very chocolatey, very rich and full of roasty nuttiness. I also got a bit of a hop bitterness right at the back and the aftertaste leaves you feeling like you just had a triple shot of espresso straight

M: Ultra smooth and creamy, super full body and is almost close to being a solid. Just a super, super thick beer

Overall this was excellent. Very aggressive in some aspects, but well balanced overall. Awesome stuff, Founders!

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Photo of Lolli1315
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours and opaque black, can't get any darker than this. About a finger of head, maybe a little more that is dark brown. Nice lacing as this is sticking to the entire glass.

S- Roasted malts slightly overpowered by the smell of alcohol, certainly not unappetizing though. A dark chocolate aroma tends to sneak through before being squashed out by the malt and alcohol.

T- The roasted malts jump around for around a couple of seconds before a dark chocolate bitterness kicks it of the way. The alcohol taste is hidden initially, but towards the end of the beer it leaps out almost unexpectedly and sticks to the palate for quite a long time.

M- Very chewy and thick with a smooth carbonation that makes this a smooth the entire way down.

D- The lingering taste of alcohol in this beer is the only real thing detracting from the drinkability. If you look past that and understand it is something to be expected out of a bigger beer, then this beer will be one you keep reaching for.

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Photo of paulozanello
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick, I mean petroleum thick (you can't even see through the pour), pitch black and viscous liquid with a nice chocolate color head that recedes fairly quickly leaving a thin foam cap on the surface. Mighty lacing.

Aroma is strong and full of roasted malts, espresso and mild bitter chocolate. Floral hops come through very lightly towards the end giving a nice perfume touch.

Taste is a malt bomb with roasted dark malts, espresso, chocolate, mollasses and very faint herbal hops. Lots of bitterness towards the end as well as coffee and bitter cocoa.

Mouthfeel is silky and creamy with lots of viscosity. Body is very heavy and thick and carbonation is medium. The alcohol is not overly apparent but you can definitely tell that it's there. Finish and aftertaste are very powerful, a combination of strong coffee notes and hop / roasted malt bitterness making the drinkability not that high, which I guess it's ok and expected, given the style.

A solid Imperial Stout from Founders, undoubtedly one of the best breweries out there. I still prefer the Breakfast Stout over this one but it is still definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Prufrock
3.45/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

pours pitch black with a touch of brown head that falls quickly to nothing.

coffee, raisins, molasses, and a touch of soy sauce in the aroma. smells very sweet and dark, if that makes sense.

heavy but smooth mouthfeel with just a touch of carbonation. raisins and a vinous sweetness dominate the flavor with some coffee-like bitterness and alcohol. touch of soy sauce lines the throat and the finish, which along with the alcohol limit the drinkability.

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Photo of bigaltemple
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 12/20/12

Good pour of motor oil. Black and viscous. No real head, but wasn't really expecting one. Dark, caramel ring supplies some small spots of lace.

Nice and toasty, almost smokey. Good amount of bitter chocolate and fresh roasted coffee. As it warms, get some sweeter/vanilla notes.

Initial taste is all espresso before the char and chocolate show up. Very thick and coats the entire palate. Warming even with the alcohol being well hidden. Like the nose, vanilla and caramelized sugar show up after some time.

Highly enjoyed this and would love to have more to enjoy on a cooler evening.

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

Managed to snag a few of these from the good people at Crown Liquors.

Appearance: This beer glugs into my pint glass and settles into a jet black body with a small mocha colored head that quickly dissipated, but it did leave some spotty lacing on my pint glass.
Smell: The nose is a rich combination of roasted malt and coffee with an almost grassy hop scent as well. There is a hint of alcohol and chocolate at the back end of this offering as well.
Taste: The flavor profile is amazing complex with flavors that outshine the nose on this beer. The main flavors are of the rich and roasted malt, but as the beer warmed past cellar temp I began to get currants, plums, dates, espesso beans, caramel, chocalte, and anise. There are many flavors, but all combine so well on the palate to make a very pleasurance workout for your taste buds.
Mouthfeel: This beer is smooth as silk with the alchol only barely noticable on the mouth. It has good carbonation for a RIS, and it leaves an overall dry sensation in my mouth.
Drinkability: This beer is dangerously good, and I wish I had the opportunity to purchase much more of this amzing beer.

Just an awesome beer. Well done again Founders.

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Photo of OldIronLungs
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really excited to finally get my hands on these this year.

Pours midnight black into a Duvel snifter - what seems like lack of head turns into a half finger of dark dark brown head with nice clingy lacing. So far so good.

The taste? The taste. Warm coffee, chocolate, dark malts and some fruit, some molasses and vanilla. Beautiful mouth feel - thick and smooth and just the right kind of slick with the carbonation only present at the end. Virtually no unpleasant bitterness to speak of, just creamy deliciousness.

This is exactly what I expected from Founders and I'm again staggered by how on point their brews are. I'm happy I have a few bottles so I can let one mellow out a bit; I can only anticipate this beer getting better with time.

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Photo of E-McFarden
4.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Black as night, but with a taste that cannot be ignored. Apparent but not overbearing in the toasted flavor, and a pleasant undertone of cherry and chocolate. What a good beer.

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Photo of kirkpjr
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip.

A: Pours an oily thick black with a nice 1 finger head. Very viscous looking stout. Brown head leaves lacing all over the glass. The legs on this one are thick!

S: Roasted malts upfront, with a rich coffee and chocolate scent on the back. Also hints of oatmeal play into the nose. Not overwhelming, but very hearty smelling.

T: Tastes like it smells, but much more complex. The beer also gets noticeable better as it warms. Strong roasted malts with a touch of chocolate. A nice sweetness is here that becomes more apparent with warmth. I'm getting no heat at all with this big of ABV.

M: Rich in flavor and body. Moderate carbonation. Not as creamy as I might expect.

D: Great RIS. I will have to stock up on this one when I get the chance.

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Photo of SaulFox
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep black with dark mocha head. Elegant lacing.
Dark chocolate, roasty malt, very light espresso.
Roasted espresso bitterness, rich chocolate.
Rich heavy mouthfeel.
Very nice winter brew....glad us Californians are included in Founder's distribution.

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

reviewing the last bottle of a 4pk -
pours opaque brown/black into a pint glass and puts up a 1/2 finger of rich brown head - leaves rings of lacing from top to bottom - i can smell roasted barley, coffee and and a slight wiff of alcohol - bitter and prickly on the tip of the tongue - tastes of roasted grains and coffee, bitter chocolate and then some vanilla - I don't really taste the alcohol - this is a good beer to end the night with - tastier as it warms -
the bitter chocolate taste lingers on nicely in the finish - mouthfeel is thick at the beginning and soon thins to a nice creaminess - goes down easy -
really good stuff !

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

I can't comprehend how this beer is so overlooked. Founders has their Breakfast Stout and Kentucky Breakfast, which get all the credit. Lets see how this one fares:

A: This is dark. Really Dark. No light penetrates the beer even as I poured it. Pitch black, super thick, foamy brown head that leaves chunky lacing on the glass.

S: Smells a little sweet. Caramel, roast, coffee, and chocolate. Smells like a good mix of flavors.

T: This has got an awesome taste. Massive complexity and strong flavors. First off, there is a big roast flavor going on here. Its a little sweeter than some Imperial Stouts. Then a wave of milk chocolate and roasted coffee intermingle on your taste buds. A little caramel malt as well. This, Expedition Stout, and the Yetis are in the top tier tasting Imperial Stouts. Excellent.

M: Super creamy and thick. Coats the mouth and actually makes your tongue turn brown it is so thick. Excellent mouthfeel.

D: Drinkability is great for an Imperial Stout. The flavors keep you coming back for more. Plus the creamyness is just a pleasure to endure. It is kind of high in alcohol, however, you do not taste it at all. Very well hidden.

You can probably tell that I love this beer. Great flavor and mouthfeel put this beer up to the top. I do prefer this to Breakfast Stout and KBS. Its just that awesome. Might be in my top 10 beers of all time. When it comes out, be on the lookout for it. You won't regret it.

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Photo of Sam21
3.94/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle. Bottled on 12/07/12. 

A- Dark black oily body with a fluffy and be to creamy brown cap. Solid staying power. I could eat the foam with a spoon. 

S- Strong aroma. Rich quality single origin chocolate. Deeply sweet malt with fruit that cut through the wall of chocolate and thick sweetness. Light note of char and a touch of anise. 

T- Huge. Huge. Huge. Thick waves of roasty malt sweetness. This sweetness is deep and enveloping. There are balancing notes of char that add an edge to the sweetness. The beer transitions into a very long, pungent, and bitter finish. Resinous hops seem to just pour out of the bittersweet chocolate flavor of the malt, which cut through and compliment the roast character. The finish clings to the palate and simply does not let go. It's a symphony of bittersweet dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, and dark chocolate dipped fruit. The 90IBUs show. As the beer warms, the hops begin to dominate the malt a bit too much. This beer is trying to be a hop forward stout and they have done a great job with that. That said, I prefer more malt centered stouts. 

MF- Thick and full. Oily even. Really filling and sticky as you let it roll around. Finishes dry as the hops dominate. 

O- This is a big stout with a huge hop presence. I can see it doing really well with age. A big stout with a lot to say. 12oz is plenty for me!

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Photo of johnnyd10vt
3.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

High grav American stout with dried fruit overtones. Perfectly black with a pretty dark brown head that is very thick. The smell and taste both feature that heavy dried fruit essence which, while I appreciate the complexity, isn't entirely my bag, baby

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Photo of CharlieMurphy
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split 2 ways

A: Pours like clingy motor oil. You can tell it has a certain viscosity to it yet it is silky and thin on the pour. In the half pint it fills and sits like a double dutch chocolate muffin frosted with a caramel mocha brown from the head. There's a fucking muffin in my glass.

S: This smells like a double dutch chocolate muffin frosted with caramel mocha espresso coffee. Significant alcohol underlies this in a way that almost makes you think there's the faintest hint of oak. Tremendous aroma. Some words spoke: "it smells like dessert!... and vagina!" Faintest whisper of hops.

T: Just incredible. First taste echos the smells. I fear as though I was overzealous and shouldn't have double gulped this though, for after the first big taste each subsequent one is a shadow of the fleeting ecstasy I experienced initially. The latter tastes are muffled by the slightly excessive burnt notes of the roasted malts. The whisper of hops briefly amplify this at the end of the taste.

M: Not too drying for being so burnt tarnishing. Tastes light for being up there in ABV and having a hefty dose of dark specialty malts. Low on carbonation.

O: Was giddy at the beginning of this tasting experience, but it slipped away. Will definitely revisit and re-review, slightly colder

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Photo of hops202
4.64/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Stone Snifter.

Initial appearence looks great. Nice thick chocolate moch head. Aroma has roast, espresso, booziness, cocoa, dark-bitter chocolate. Taste is very complex with dark chocolate, molasses, espresso, with a dry and burnt bitter ending - as to be expected at 90 IBU. Quite unique and definitely one of the best RIS out there.

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Photo of coachdonovan
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter from a 12/22/11 bottle, it's obviously pure black. One of the darker heads I've seen in a while too; it starts out about an inch thick and fades to a thin layer of mocha foam, solid lacing. This is the picture you find in the dictionary next to "Imperial Stout."

Nose is equal parts coffee and unsweetened chocolate. A little tingle of alcohol is there, but just barely. The malt brings to mind the aroma of roasted chestnuts on a New York City autumn afternoon.

First pull from the glass is smooth and viscous. The aroma themes are still there - roasted coffee and bitter chocolate - but this flavor profile goes much deeper. There is a juicy fruitiness that balances all that darkness, and now I find the 90 IBUs referenced on the label. The roasty notes come through again in the finish.

I'm taking my time with this one because I want to enjoy all the flavors, not because the 10.5% abv is obvious. This is simply really really good. If the coffee flavor was dialed back just a bit, it might be perfect.

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

A: Poured a rich, thick, warm dark brown. I made sure to observe it in good light, and it definitely wasn't as dark as most others seem to say. Interesting. Barely any head. Lacing holds on pretty well, and there is a bit of a foam that hangs around the side of the snifter.

S: Rich, dark coffee, but muted compared to the Breakfast Stout. A little bit of charred malts, a little bit of hops, and a little bit of chocolate.

T: Coffee is the main flavor. More bitterness than in the smell. Some semi-sweet chocolate in the middle.

M: Lovely. Just the right thickness. Sort of creamy, without being too heavy.

D: Pretty high. I don't taste the alcohol, and it doesn't have any jarring flavors or mouthfeel that weighs you down.

This seemed like a less bold, more balanced version of Founder's Breakfast Stout. Reminded me of Ten Fidy in many ways.

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

Reviewed from notes made on 1/9/11. This was bottled in 11/09 and I had to hold the bottle right up to a light because the date had become so faded.

Whoa, this beer is so dark. This is right up there with the blackest stouts I've seen, if not the blackest. After a medium-hard pour into a snifter, a one and a half finger dark mocha head rests on top. There is some deep red color at the edges, but the body is quite opaque. Thick clumps of froth drip down the glass post-sip and leave small dots and swirly streaks of vertical lacing.

Roasted malts, espresso, bitter cocoa, molasses, vanilla - every aroma you could possibly want from a Russian Imperial Stout exists in the bouquet. When swirled, roasted malts and nuttiness take over the profile. Conversely, when at rest the coffee and chocolate aromas dominate. Way back in the bouquet are some dark fruit scents.

The flavor brings big time roast notes at first, with anise and molasses supporting. As the beer mellows over my tongue, bitter chocolate, espresso, and creamy vanilla coat, followed by a roasty malt and earthy hop finish. Throughout the sip, there is certain acidity that complements the roasted flavors.

The mouthfeel is rather forward and biting at times. The acidity makes for a puckering feel for the whole sip, while a creamy medium to full body takes the reins in the middle. The finish is quite dry and does a nice job of cleaning my palate.

Founders IS is a delicious slow-sipper and is a damn fine interpretation of the style. The taste is maybe just a tad bitter and acidic, but is also big, bold, and flavorful. This is one of which I will always pick up a four pack each year it comes out and enjoy the bottles over the course of time.

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Photo of bbtkd
3.92/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Imperial Stout, ABV 10.5%, IBU 75. Brown head, very dark, pours thick. Nose is coffee and alcohol. As far as taste, hard to get by the espresso bitterness and taste much else. Not my favorite, but those who don't mind bitter will like it. It does improve as it warms. Or maybe as I warm...

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

A - Body is pitch black. Two fingers of brown head form which fades slowly. Lots of lacing. Great looking stout.

S - Cooked fruit and rich cocoa. Mild black pepper spice and some spicy hops.

T - Tons of sharp, bitter roasted grains. Intense french roast coffee, unsweetened cocoa, and mild underlying caramel malts. Finish is semi-sweet and quite rich. Booze is just detectable as the beer warms. This is an imperial stout in every sense of the words. Not for the faint of heart, that's for sure.

M - Thick body. Balanced carbonation. Finish is semi-dry with residual burnt sugar flavor/feel.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,681 ratings.
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