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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 brydeen
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Date 12/15/11 poured into a Snifter

A: Pours a jet black, like motor oil. A very thin but creamy chocolate colored head forms, and stays put for the most part. Sticky lacing throughout the glass.

S: Huge hits of chocolate in the nose, almost like cocoa powder. Smells candy sweet, with a faint roasted malt backbone.

T: Huge roast flavor with loads of bittersweet chocolate, and toffee. The sweetness in the nose is nowhere to be found in the taste. Not even a faint hint of the 10.5% alcohol.

M: Creamy, luxurious full-bodied stout. Subtle carbonation.

O: This is simply fantastic. You'd be hard pressed to find a better non-barrel-aged Imperial Stout. There's nothing lacking here at all, just a pleasurable drinking experience.

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Photo of mattbk
4.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A - Whoa that's really thick. Motor oil. Still pours a deep tan head that's long lasting. Very nice appearance.
S - Chocolate. Almost more chocolate than any other beer I've ever smelled. Some bitter roast behind that, not much dark fruit. Excellent.
T - More roast than I expected, still some chocolate, a bit more dark fruit, a little bit of hop there, definitely some bitterness. Some of the bitterness from alcohol, not hot though. It's very good.
M - A bit lighter than I would have liked, definitely lighter in the mouth than from the appearance. Medium to medium heavy maybe? Very light carbonation.
O - A very good imperial stout, the aroma is superb, the taste is very good as well, no heat despite the 10.5%. Absolutely would recommend.

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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 Steamer
4.84/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Ink black with very dark beige, one finger head that quickly disappears leaving a rim of froth around the glass edge.
Smell: Rich, strong, and sweet mocha coffee; the high alcohol content hits the nose also.
Taste: Burnt toast with a bitter-sweet chocolate after taste. Remind me of a strong coffee with a healthy dose of kalua added. Heaven.
Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy and sticky; like an imperail stout should be.
Overall: An amzing beer and a must try for every stout lover! It's right up there at the top of my list.

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Photo of itsscience
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

It was presented to me black with about a finger of brown head. Smelling it, I get a lot of roasted grains with chocolate, charred wood with a hint of smoke, some coffee, and a slight hop aroma. The taste is much more chocolate-forward. It has a dark chocolate and cocoa powder profile carrying a vein of caramel, with a creamy, full mouthfeel throughout. It finishes with a roasty burnt oat taste with a manageable level of astringency.

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Photo of codsmith
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Local Option

Black with nice carmel colored thin foam head that clears quickly and sticks to the sides of the glass

Thin chocolate aroma. Almost bitter sweat and you can smell the alcohol.

Very thick and full bodied. Starts out as a very nice smooth chocolate and finishes with a slightly bitter chocolate aftertaste.

Taste lingers and stays with you.

Nice overall beer with def drinkability. The alcohol is present and accounted for with this big guy.

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

Bottled: 12/20/12 - poured into a CCB Snifter

A: Thick and dark - looks like motor oil. Aggressively poured with what looks like no head, until it quickly develops into thick, dark brown, fluffy, 2 finger foam. Remains for several minutes and leaves a perfect, thick lace on the glass.

S: Roasted chocolate malt and barley smells, with piney hops. Smells toasty and bready. Expected a little more chocolate and was taken back a little by the hop presence. Not bad by any means, just a little surprised.

T: Wow. Roasted, toasty, chocolate in the beginning - almost a hint of some smoke. Mid drink is when the hops arrive. Finishes with some more chocolate and almost a hint of hazelnut with some booze and bitterness that survive in the after taste. This is extremely balanced and works well.

M: Very thick, full, sticky body - which one would expect from a 10.5% ABV RIS. Pretty amazing how easy it went down though.

O: I continue to be impressed with Founders, and this one is right at the top with a couple other seasonals they do. Throughout the drink I kept thinking "this is really good, but also really thick". Then all of a sudden it was gone and I realized it was going down much easier than I thought it was. The balance of the hops, and sweet roastiness is incredible. Can't wait to do a taste of one of these vintage '12 bottles next January with a year of age vs a fresh bottle of Vintage '13.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Edit 2/26/2016: Incredible! I am increasing taste, feel & overall.

12oz, bottled 12/2/2014, snifter used. Pours dark like any other stout, with a small but robust light-chocolate colored head, nice lacing, and good body when swirled. Aroma is strong on the booze but complex with chocolate and some port wine notes. I taste LOTS of chocolate, some burnt/roasted notes, and again, booze, although it is quite smooth on the finish.

I started writing this review when I first tried this beer, and finished the review as I sipped on the last of it (hours later). I expected a lot out of the beer, and it delivered: it is one of the best RIS I have had, with plenty of complexity. I hope to buy some to lay down and see how it fares with a couple of years age on it.

 764 characters

Photo of KomodoDragon
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - A violent poor produced a subtle butterscotch head that grew and grew to 1 inch with outstanding lacing.

S - Earthy, chocolate

T - Here is a case where the taste do not seem to follow the smell - to me. roasted vanilla espresso, fig, black malt, hint of sweetness and sugar cane. some sourness in the finish. Alcohol intensifies the flavor rather than overshadowing it. Hoppy finish reminiscent of a black ipa.

M- some creaminess, but also a bit too fizzy for me.

A lot going on here, and wonderful to sip. It'll warm you on a cold night. Solid entry in a favored category.

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Photo of Richardbeerlover
3.64/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours without a head and then a very thin head forms that quickly dissipated. Very thick black color. Smells like a typical dark stout. Nice slightly sweet taste without bitterness. Has a nice thickness to it. The 10% ABV shows up towards the finish. I really like this one.

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Photo of BigIrishman
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into pint glass

Appearance: Thick black with cappuccino colored head, not much retention.

Smell: Coffee and chocolate overload the nose, very malty base to it as well.

Taste: Huge coffee/espresso base, similar to the breakfast stout but not quite as much as the BS. Absolutely wonderful finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick and heavy, just the way I like my RIS's.

Drinkability: The 10.5% alcohol is completely unnoticeable, I could pound these down all day.

Notes: Founder's never disappoints, this beer fits perfectly into my RIS gap right now, absolutley wonderful.

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Photo of Hesscabob
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Finally was able to have a snifter full.

A - Impenetrable dark beer with a dark mocha/tan head.
S - Smell of chocolate, fuge, brownies, rocky road ice cream.
M - Creamier than I anticipated, perfect carbonation, no lingering sweetness such as other base stouts. The use of Oats is noted and well taken.
T - Delicious, roasted malts, marshmallow.
O - Great Imperial, much anticipated and it delivered.

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Photo of rabidawg
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a pure black with an espresso-colored head. Sheets of lacing coat the inside of the glass. Magnificent.

Smell: Bittersweet dark chocolate and french roast coffee aromas. Toasty bread crust and a slight burnt aroma. Rum-like at times, and earthy.

Taste: Soft in the mouth from the low carbonation. Spicy holiday fruitcake flavors initially. Ginger and cinnamon. Rich scorched chocolate and dark-roasted coffee. Slightly slick and buttery near the end, with leafy green hops washing away the residual sugars after the swallow. Alcohol is well hidden, but a slight numbing is present after the swallow.

Kick-ass imperial stout! Thanks to cmaruschak for this midwestern gem!

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

Tasting note founders imperial stout

12 oz bottle poured into mad elf tulip

Aroma strong bitter coffee, bakers chocolate, roasted barley

Appearance black,black, and more black.  Mocha head lacing that lines whole glass

Flavor coffee, bittersweet chocolate, rum, toast, raisins

Mouthfeel/Drinkability nice level of carbonation, not as smooth as breakfast stout but not bad.  Might be able to drink two at a sitting

Overall once again founders doesn't disappoint.  Can't wait till febuary for kbs!!!

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Photo of gwguest
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Imperial Stout hits all of the points for me when I think of "Imperial Stout" without going completely out of bounds on any one area or being a gimmick beer.

Look - Pours a deep dark brown with a caramel mocha colored foam. The pour gives you an accurate impression of the beer you're about to drink.

Smell - Bittersweet Chocolate with coffee and vanilla notes. Deep roasted malts.

Taste - Deep and complex layers of roast of the chocolate and coffee notes with definite charred notes all blend together to be nearly indistinguishable unless tasting it for a review purpose. There is just enough caramel sweetness to balance the roast and the hops do there job to add enough bitterness to check the caramel. There is a very slight hint of alcohol heat in the finish, but I'm being very, very picky on this. Your average BA won't notice it.

What I love most about this beer is that it's not a roast bomb, a hop bomb or a cloying mess. It dials up all of those attributes in just the right level to create a harmonious, delicious beer.

Feel - Lucious and creamy matching and enhancing everything that the beer has offered to this point.

I don't review many beers, but this beer simply deserves it. A fantastic beer that I will buy every time that I see it.

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

Pours a deep blackish brown, no light shines through. The head is generous and has a very fine carbonation, a burnt caramel color. Smells of big roast, very bold and intense. Flavor is rich and full, lots of roasted malt and chocolate, big finish, alcohol is warming. Overall a solid imp stout, wish it was year 'round, this puppy has some bite.

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Photo of legalpete19340
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured super thick black and oily into the glass. The head grew and grew from nothing until i blew over the rim of the glass. It stuck to everything and never left. Insane.

S: Deep dark malt everywhere. Dark chocolate, leather, campfire.

T: Huge dark malt blowing up. Tons of smoke, burn coffee, and dark chocolate. The middle smacks of those Harry and David chocolate cherries with hints of lemon. Nice grassy flavor as well. But this is all dark and it ends on dark hoppy malty note.

M: Velvety, thick but not too chewy. Just smooth.

O: Like Megan Fox. What more can I say. This is a dark beautiful masterpiece.

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

12 ounce poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours an opaque black, with an inch+ tan head that quickly subsides to 1/8. Nice lacing.

S - Roasted malts, hints of coffee and chocolate.

T - Roasted, almost burnt. Bitter finish with alcohol warmth.

M - Thick and creamy with medium carbonation.

D - This is a sipper.

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Photo of brian44556
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured into Stone tulip at 55 degrees.

The appearance of this beer was great. Poured a small foam head, jet black in color, and left a nice chocolate lacing around the glass. The smell the first 10-20 minutes was very metallic in nature. Still had hints of coffee, but I didn't smell the chocolate until it warmed up. Halfway through the glass the smell was great. Same result with the taste. The first 20 minutes the taste was just OK. Not until it warmed up did it have the very bitter chocolate taste with a coffee backbone that I look for in a RIS. The mouthful was great, carbonation was noticeable, but I didn't pick up on any notes of alcohol once it warmed up. Overall an another exceptional beer from Founder's. I could easily drink a 4 pack, but with the hefty ABV, 2 may be my limit.

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Photo of mikul93
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A Pours thick and black. Dark mocha colored 1 finger head. Nice lacing

S Chocolate,Roasted Malt maybe a hint of caramel and vanilla

T Sweet roasted malt, Chocolate, some vanilla, slight bit of coffee. Alcohol is not as "in your face" for 10.5 %

M This is some sexy beer. It's thick, but it's smooth and creamy. One of the most creamy beers that I have had.

O Delicious. Lots of roast, chocolate and hints of other flavors. Just great!

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Photo of Onemoresolo
4.66/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled in Dec '14, opened Dec '15, let's see what a year has done:

Look: Holy viscosity, this looks like motor oil from a car that went waaaaay past 3,000. Not much head, just a dark tan film and ring around the rim. Blacker than black body, no light coming through. Mmmm.

Smell: Lots and lots of rich dark chocolate, roast malt, yum.

Taste: Oh wow! There's still a good amount of bitterness here that carries the smooth chocolatey caramel flavors nicely. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, caramel, toffee, some dark roast coffee on the finish. There's no hint of alcohol, this is like a chocolate milkshake.

Feel: I think this might be thicker than Ten Fidy. Great full-bodied beer, but the lively bitterness and rich flavors really come together perfectly here.

Overall: Bummed that this is my last '14 bottle, but very pleased that I got to enjoy it. One of the best stouts out there, BA or otherwise.

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

Pours a thick midnight black with a creamy mocha head that quickly fades into a thin wispy ring.
Smells good lots of big roasted malts, lots of expresso, some sweet chocolate and a hint of alcohol.
Taste heavenly. Lovley roasted barley flavors, coffee on the front and then some nice reisdual sweetness on the end.
Very smooth with a slightly bitter finish
Alcohol is well hidden wouldn't have a problem finishing a four pack.
Another awesome offering from Founders

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

This particular bottle is a few months shy of being one year old. I've had this one fresh and enjoyed a lot but I'm going to review this one. Pours pitch black with a small dark brown head. Don't know if the pour was off or not but even with the small head it looks good. The smell right off is chocolate. That's really all I get out of it other than some roasted malt. Even though there isn't a lot going on in the smell what is there smells very nice. Like the smell the taste is very chocolatey. Kind of surprising since when I had it fresh it wasn't like this and there was some coffee in both the smell and taste. The mouthfeel is very thick and perfect for the RIS style. No alcohol present which is very nice making this very drinkable with the chocolate taste that is coming out. Overall fresh this one is great but with some time this one gets even better. I'm going to pick more up the next time it comes out, drink a couple fresh and age all the rest.

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Photo of brstls4drmrs
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 review---a little more detailed than my 2011 review....

A - Pours of a thick viscosity like motor oil but in a dark coffee/black color. Hardly a layer of foam on top whatsoever. Just a thin piece of brown like snowflake almost appearing like a layer of sugar on top.

S - Heavy on the coffee with some very nice dark fruits and a splash of licorice. Some faint dark chocolate in there with some smaller doses of booze as well.

T - Like dark chocolate, coffee beans. There's also a slight buttery tone as it goes down.

M - This brew is silky smooth with a buttery texture on the finish. Very interesting and quite enjoyable. Light carbonation.

O - A great stout. Highly recommend this one. Still as good as ever!

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Photo of srrn
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a great beer. Pours the deepest brown/black with a deep brown head. Smell of chocolate and faint hops. Taste is sweet chocolate, followed by dark fruit and a nice bitter coffee finish. This is a great RIS I will seek out often. A nice complex sipper.

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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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