Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
75 IBU

Added by mjohn27603 on 01-13-2003

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Reviews: 1,834 | Ratings: 7,626
Photo of womencantsail
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is viscous and black with a finger or so off mocha colored foam that dissipates somewhat quickly, but leaves a nice bit of lacing.

S: Loads of coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, a bit of dark fruit, and a touch of alcohol.

T: The amount of chocolate in this beer is amazing. A very smooth chocolate and coffee taste with a nice hint of bitterness on the finish.

M: Very smooth, rich, and creamy.

D: An awesome RIS, one of the better ones I've had, actually. The alcohol is pretty much non-existent and the flavors are absolutely amazing and epitomize an RIS.

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Photo of pmccallum86
4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark blackish color with a coffee colored head.

The smell is of coffee, cocoa, dark chocolates and maybe some dried fuits.

Taste is amazing, loads of chocolate and coffee. Lot of hops present as well but are somewhat subtle relative to the coffee and chocolate. Alcohol is not present even at 10.5%, very complex taste, one of the more coffee forward RIS out there.

Great mouthfeel, thick and chewy. Smooth as well with a medium level of carbonation.

Very drinkable beer, a must have for all beer lovers.

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Photo of brownbeer
4.38/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage

Oily, black pour with a big, pillowy abyss of very dark brown head that's gonna leave some lacing. Very nice.

Hefty nose of hops, bitter coffee, oak, dark chocolate, sawdust?, maybe leather. Alot going on here for sure.

This one is not for the faint of heart. Thick and milky in the mouth, coating all surfaces with intense dark chocolate, alot of hop flavor for the style,an earthy dustiness, and a nice little alcohol burn to warm ya up to go with the long, dry finish.

This is a hoss and a sipper for sure. I'll be putting a 4-pack of it in my cellar shortly.

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Photo of mutterfudder
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a widemouth snifter.

A - Jet jet black. 1 finger maroon head. This beer just looks evil!

S - Burnt malt goodness. I can't pick up the hops too much, but more of a caramel and burnt malt scent. Smells toasty!

T - Maltiness and goodness. The alcohol is present (unsurprising for a 10.5% brew) and the hops finish it well. This is one big tasting stout. And well balanced!

M - It's heavy and it burns a little. Swallow and it evens out. About as good as it gets for the style.

D - About as drinkable as an Imperial Stout gets at 10.5%. Sip lightly!

Dug this a lot. Very good beer.

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Photo of mwa423
4.85/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours jet black, thick and slow as motor oil. There is a small but thick tan head that sticks to the glass like glue.

S - Alcohol fills the nose, along with dark rich roasted malt. A bit of hops around the edges to tempt the tongue.

T - Lots of taste, strong heavy malty flavors backed up by some alcohol on the tongue, aftertaste of roasted malt and a bit of hop bitterness. Every second you swirl this around the tongue you get something new.

M/D - Mouthfeel is like a thin chocolate milkshake, coats the mouth and goes down smooth. This is as drinkable as an imperial stout gets, but certainly a one sip at a time beer.

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Photo of mikey711
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle as an extra from 321jeff. Thanks jeff

A: Black as black can get which a very big mocha colored frothy esspresso style head that leaves plenty of webs behind as it fades.

S: Roasty and smokey are very prevalent but that is exactly what I want in a stout. The smokiness has a peet like quality to it and he roastiness hs some coffee like qualities. Also some bitter chocolate notes in there and a mild hint of caramel sweetness

T: Milk and bitter chocolate upfront before finishing before transitiing to a roasty and smokey finish. The roastiness is very much of that burnt old coffee taste and the smokiness reminds me slight of a campfire

M: thick and creamy. No alcohol heat present but definitely can tell it is a fairly big beer.

D: Goes down pretty smooth and a whole bottle is no problem.

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Photo of
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Imperial Stout poured into Chris Chelios pint glass. A stout beer for a stout hockey player. This beer screams winter, it's about nine degrees in Detroit right now, so that means there are 8 extra degrees we don't need...

Appearance is as dark as a cold Detroit night, extremely hard pour generated half inch head. Fine dark brown lacing covers my glass as I sip this monster brew. Smell is typical Impy Stout, toasted nuts with a twinge of smoke, anise and coffee. A malty taste is at the forefront followed by strong anise and coffee flavor. As the brew lingers a powerful punch of hops is evident and leaves the tongue watering for more. Mouthfeel is very creamy for a beer with such an assertive ABV. This lends itself to an unmatched drinkability for a such a ginormus stout.

As a former student who lived in Kalamazoo for years it pains me to say that the RIS from the northern half of highway 131 challenges the reign of Bell's Expedition stout as the king of Michigan stouts, but the southern half of 131 still reins as king, if only barely.

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Photo of chilidog
4.48/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked thisone up at the brewery as I heard it was available bottled again. Its been awhile since i've seen it.

Pours very dark, motor oil thick, full bodied. The head is awesome. Milk chocolate color of thick. pillow-like foam that maintains well. Lace is brief but web like.

Aroma is dark bakers chocolate, coffee bean and a smokey char of alcohol.

Taste carries those same qualities but with a dark fruit hint of overall intense flavor.

The mouthfeel does it for this beer. Very smooth with enough carbonation to soften the strength of this beer making very pleaseing to drink. No strong bitter over the top dry bean aftertaste. Just good stout imperial goodness.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid black, opaque color with a very small rim of chocolate brown head.
Smell is plentiful of roasted and toasted malts with a lot of coffee bean and some cocoa.
Taste is richly complex. I am hammered with toasted coffee beans followed by roasted dark chocolate.
Finish is super strong. I taste bitter coffee for a long time after my last sip, it is fantastic.
Drinks great here. Very smooth, little booze, and high ABV, just what I like.

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Photo of Stunner97
3.53/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- dark black with very think tan head off the pour, nice appearance for the style

Smell- lots of coffee, some hops and roasted malts, not overwhelmed by the smell but not bad

Taste- Nice flavor but to me still a bit strong in the coffee department though not to level of their breakfast stout, alot of hoppy bitterness on this one this one with slight heat, balance not perfect but not bad

Mouthfeel- heavy with moderate carbonation

Drinkability- Decently drinkable though I truely was not ultra blown away by this stout by any means, just lacking that little something special that makes you really love a great stout, a good beer but not great

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Photo of 1fastz28
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

black as midnight with a big brown head that surpsingly laces quite well. the smell is very chocolately, lots of malt and especiallyi coffee dominate the nose. the taste is just incredible, one of the best stouts i've ever had, even has a slight sweet flavor to it, just an all around incredible beer. one of the few 5.0's i've given

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Photo of webmanspidey
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a chalice.

This is pitch black and creamy with about half an inch of head.

Smells of chocolate, whiskeys, sweet candies, woods, and coffee.

Taste starts with an extremely sweet rush of molasses, syrup, and chocolate and finishes with bitter hops/coffee. In between are various whiskeys and charred wood.

Mouthfeel is extremely thick and creamy.

This packs a punch but alcohol is not overwhelming.

All-around excellent.

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Photo of tattooedtolley
4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an beautiful black with a brown head that hung out a bit longer than I would have guessed. Excellent looking impying stout. Nose is full of big roasted malt aroma and a hint of molasses. Taste is big and roasty, excellent impy stout flavor. After having the breakfast stout so many times, its nice to have something without all the coffee in it. Probably not going to session this but its not hard to finish. I had this side by side with some other impy stouts that had a bit more of a hop profile but this was very tasty and well made, I'd buy it again.

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Photo of rustymoore
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours an uber dark brown thick with a robust tan head that leaves a medium amount of lacing as it warms to room temperature. Definitely looks the part as far as elite imperial stouts.

S: Smell is dominated by coffee and chocolate notes. You can sense the sweet yet alcahol laced notes.

T: Tastes exceptional...not among the top 5 of imperial stouts that I have enjoyed however this is very close. Coffee flavor is strong however the alcahol does tend to creep in where I would like there to be more complexity. You can hint the dark fruit notes with a bit of chocolate and cherry.

M: An astrigent and warming effect as this brew touches your mouth and tongue. As it warms to room temperature it actually becomes better as most imp stouts do in my opinion.

D: Along with other stouts or high gravity beers in general, this brew isn't among the elite however for an imp stout this is a good one to have a handful in a sitting.

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Photo of blackenmn
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter:

Appearance and Smell:Poured a nice opaque black similar to ten fidy. Left a nice thick, extremely dark brown creamy head which left nice layers of lacing down the glass. Smelled of very rich chocolate. Quite a bit of roastiness present, with a bit of caramel malt which compliments its nicely and helps hide the mild warmth on the nose from this one.

Taste and Mouthfeel:I really enjoy the flavor of this brew. Quite a bit of milky chocolate and molasses. Very rich decadant brew with some feint bitterness on the tail which really makes this brew. Pretty medium to heavy bodied brew which was slick and creamy on the tongue. Just enough bitterness to keep any of the sweetness from being too much. The last few sips of this were nothing far from delicious.

Drinkability:Very drinkable considering the style, and ABV of this brew. The very mild warmth and creamy body make this thing just slide down. Enough complexity to keep me sipping. I highly recommend trying this one.

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Photo of Buebie
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been sitting on this gem for almost a month, time to drink it already.

Picked up a single bottle from a mix and match. Poured into an oversized snifter. Producing just less thenn an inch of very dark brown head, very dark brown. Color on the beer is pitch black. Middle bubble islands of retention and spotty lace.

Aroma is huge with malted milk balls, bitter chocolate, coffee and an oaty dried milk kind of protein meets dairy aroma.

Taste is much more sweet then the dry bitter chocolate aromamay have lead me to belive. Some mild warming as I swallow.
Chocolate is great, not too bitter, not too sweet, some cocoa powder flavors. Bittering grains midway through with some bittering hops as well.
More protein like oat flavors, and coffee lingers.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with just a touch of syrup heavyness to the feel. Carbonation is moderate keeping any flat syrupy feel from overloading the senses.

Perfect beer, highly recommend.

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Photo of jsh420
4.63/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottled 11/27/09

pours pitch black with a huge 2+ finger ta head that has great retention and covered the glass with lacing

smell - the first thing i pick up on is some bitter sweet chocolate and licorice - roasted malts

taste - bitter bitter bitter - bitter chocolate bitter licorice bitter dark fruit - roasted burnt malts - this is one hell of a RIS - also pick up on the hops little grapefruit but the burnt malts and chocolate mask most of the citrus and leave the bitterness of the hops

mouthfeel full body very smooth and creamy

drinkability is good - this is a beer i could only drink one of in a session though

this beer might not have the drinkability of FBS or KBS but this is a much better stout then those 2

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Photo of mothman
4.2/5  rDev -3%
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 Pedro07
3.99/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Haven't had this one from the bottle for over a year so I decided to pick a fresh one up today. I've always enjoyed it, so let's see how this one stacks up.

A- Pours a thick, oily, viscous black from the bottle. Dark as night, no light whatsoever. No all. This is usually not a good sign in my book, but it could be the pour or the glass. I definitly prefer head on my stouts.

S- I smell more cocoa than coffee, but it is there. Black licorice, roasted earthiness with an oily-resin scent in the back. Mmmmm...

T- Very thick, for sure. Again I taste dark, bitter chocolate, raw cocoa bean? There is some coffee on the back. Man the malts come through on this one and hang around on your tounge for a while. I can taste the alcohol in the middle. In-between sips I can taste the alcohol in my mouth. Not unpleasant, but it reminds you it's 10.5%. There might be a dark-bready rye kick in there too. Maybe I need to let this one warm a bit.

M- Very thick and coating. Quite what an imperial stout ought to be.

D- This one is great as a winter sipper. One could last you a good part of the evening. I do enjoy them this part of the year for sure.

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Photo of soupyman10
4.57/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally in Michigan at the right time to grab this one. Pitch black beer with a small head that doesn't do much in the way of lacing. Really a huge flavor and aroma. When it's chilly, it's strong and straightforward on the roasted malt. As it warms up though, you get all kinds of other flavors - sweet dried fruit and raisins in particular, some cherries. Big chocolate, roasted malt. Monster hoppy presence as well, especially in the back of the mouth. Going to drink another and then put a couple down.

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Photo of yelterdow
4.04/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From the fridge at Andy's Corner in Bogota, this has been aged a year since I took possession. 12 oz. bottle served at cellar temperature on my birthday in an oversize snifter.

Appearance- The blackest of beers, this ale glugs like motor oil from the bottle... the head coats the surface, gleaning a hint of red atop its cocoa brown color.

Smell- The aroma is dark roasted, almost burnt coffee grounds combined with dark fruits. A smoky character burns in the background, reinforcing the milieu of a spent French press.

Taste- As with some of the boldest, most dense and concentrated RIS I have encountered, this example leans heavily on the roasted malts and seared espresso beans while finishing with a wet, freshly harvested hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Right from the start, this beer's texture in the mouth goes from excellent to superb... whether it's a few seconds or a full minute, the slickness and overall mouthfeel just keeps improving. Not my favorite example of the style, but a worthy competitor.

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Photo of Kelp
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my glass in an inky black stream with a nice dark tan head that lasted a bit. First smell is coffee followed by chocolate and toasted malts. Nice big malty taste, a bit of chocolate and finished with a coffee undertone. The alcohol isn't exactly up front but it is definitely there. Nice and thick almost velvety to the tongue. I could definitely finish a few of these in a night but it would be a pretty long and enjoyable night.

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Photo of KeefD
4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Stub n Herb's. Dark brown/black in the glass, left fabulous lacing all the way down the goblet. Nice warms, roasty aroma, some caramel, chocolate and light booze. Flavor is nice balance between sweet caramel and bitter roastiness. Full bodied, viscous. Yum. This went wonderfully with Stub's Blue Balls (mini cheeseburgers stuffed with blue cheese and topped with grilled onions). Excellent beer, and surprised it took me this long to try it.

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Photo of bsp77
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Pure black and opaque with dark brown head that leaves light lacing behind. By the way, I love the English-like crest on the label.

Smell: Burnt molasses, licorice, dark chocolate, roasted barley and nose-burning alcohol.

Taste: Burnt molasses, heavily roasted barley, dark chocolate, licorice and strong coffee. Decent level of bitterness at the end, with a long roasted aftertaste. Slightly too much burnt molasses for my liking, but that is a minor gripe.

Feel: Low carbonation, smooth body, exceedingly thick and creamy (almost as much as the Egg Nog I had earlier), dry finish.

Drinkability: Another great beer from Founders, although not one of my favorites by them since so many of their beers are just exceptional. Not one of my absolute favorite RIS either (Yeti, Darkness, Storm King, Old Rasputin), but still very, very good.

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Photo of Mcculler
4.11/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured vigorously into a pint glass, might be the best looking Imp. Stout I've come across. Huge, lasting, tan head, leaving sea foam traces on side. Good smell - coffee, toasted malts, dark fruit - but not amazing. Interesting taste - not overpowering, perhaps unique, but overly focused - coffee, bitter walnut, chocolate, vanilla. Beautiful creamy mouthfeel. This and a restrained use of hops leads to a solid drinkability for the style. Overall a unique American Imperial Stout - especially for the feel and appearance and the really interesting nutty quality in the taste.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,834 ratings.
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