Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
foundersbrewing.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
75 IBU

Added by mjohn27603 on 01-13-2003

BEER STATS
Ratings:
7,860
Reviews:
1,900
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
8.53%
 
 
Wants:
752
Gots:
2,453
For Trade:
143
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,860 |  Reviews: 1,900
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 oline73
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

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

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 WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

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 zestar
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of dmorgan310
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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.

 1,238 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

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 DrBier
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Boone757
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

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.

 1,273 characters

Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev -7.8%

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 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 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 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 Kurmaraja
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of ygtbsm94
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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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Photo of dbrauneis
3.7/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark black with very little mocha head that dissipated almost instantly.

S: Aromas of roast malts, cocoa and a hint of figs... the alcohol content is detectable in the nose.

T: The alcohol overpowers a little bit in the taste of this beer though I can also detect dark malts, chocolate, and some bitterness.

M: Full bodied with light to no carbonation and some dryness.

O: A little too intense to have multiple of these in an evening... I was slightly disappointed as I had high expectations from the brewery that brought me KBS & CBS. Not as smooth as I would have liked though I could see it pairing well with a dessert.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,860 ratings.
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