Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout
7,912 Ratings
Imperial StoutImperial 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,912 |  Reviews: 1,914
Photo of silenius
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I purchased this as a six pack, just a week or so ago. I think they stopped making six packs of this beer a year or so ago, so it must have aged a bit in the store.

Some of the bottles from this six pack had good head, others were pretty flat. All were very dark and poured a very brown/red head.

Smell was of dark chocolate and a hint of alcohol.

Tastes like dark chocolate and espresso with a nice hop bittering in the back of my throat. Nice and deep and rich!

Mouthfeel was good in some and a bit thin in others.

Very drinkable.

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Photo of sopor
3.26/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Holy hell this is black. And obviously thick just by how it pours. A finger of copper coffee colored creamy head sticks to the side of the glass. If you look closely at a large bubble, it has the look of oil slicked on water. Smells strongly of roast coffee bitterness with a hint of plumby sweetness.

Complex is an understatement, I can taste butterscotch, burnt maltlike coffee, that plumby syrupy sweetness and a bit of hop bittering. The alcohol is hidden. Feels thick and oily, slick and chewy in the mouth.

This beer is too big and thick for me, so it lost big onthe drinkability.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle at C’est le Vin. Pours like hot tar into an imperial pint glass. ¼ in head quickly dissipates to a thin film. The film nevers quite goes away, sticking with the beer as long as it lasts, clinging beautifully rich and brown to the sides of the glass. Seems to be almost no carbonation.

Tastes wonderfully nutty, then dark chocolate and burnt coffee flavors creep up on you, before a warming alcohol and bitter coffee finish takes you home. Somewhere in there you also get sideswiped by dark, vinous fruits.

Smells like alcohol, cherries, and charcoal.

Mouth feel is pure velvet but perhaps a bit undercarbonated. A bit too bitter for my tastes too.

Drinkability. I couldn’t down more than one or maybe two of these in a sitting, iot’s too bitter and the alcohol shows through a bit too much, however, this beer leaves me quite happy and I would certainly enjoy another tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…

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Photo of Viggo
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark black, very opaque, small but thick tan head forms and laces all over the glass. Smell is very roast, coffee, floral hops, some alcohol and vanilla. Taste is coffee and chocolate, caramel, and a bitter roastiness. Mouthfeel is full bodied, low carbonation and silky smooth, amazing stout! Thanks DrJay.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from, well, I don't know where. Oh well.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a tight 1/4" dark brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head slowly fades down to an even film of tiny bubbles, and lacing consists of very slow moving foam that wants to rejoin the liquid but hardly has the strength to fall. Aroma is hearty dark malts, coupled with vinous dark fruits and alcohol. Taste is extremely rich dark chocolate and coffee flavors upfront, with the fruit and alcohol coming in on the middle, and closing with an increasingly bitter coffee flavor, and definite warmth. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, although a bit more carbonation wouldn't hurt in my eyes, and drinkability is high in that you want to come back for more, even if the abv means that you come back for more tomorrow. Nice representative of the style.

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Photo of battlekow
3.81/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Looks pretty similar to the Breakfast Stout, pitch black with a dark head; the Imperial Stout's head, however, looks damn near purple. Smells sweet, of prunes and licorice, wine-like. The taste has a similar vinuous character, but also a really delicious roasted flavor. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. I must say, I prefer the Breakfast Stout's coffee/chocolate to the Imperial Stout's dark fruitiness, but the latter is pretty good and finishes well. One is definitely enough, though.

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Photo of nlmartin
4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: Pours a great coffee black coloration with an equally great inch and half or maybe two inch carmel colored head. The head resolved shortly into a film at the top of the beer. Very nice lacing evident on the emptying glass.

Smell: A pleasing mixture of licorice and coffee. Very nice spicyness.

Taste: A very creamy combination of coffee, malty sweetness, with very good spicy backbite.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy with good after taste good carbonation evident.

Drinkability: Man I wish I had more!... This is a very drinkable big beer.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew pours a motor oil black with a small brown head. The aroma is of coffee, chocolate, crackers. The taste is like the aroma. Rich and complex. There is absolutely nothing that hints at this brew's high ABV. The mouthfeel is full bodied with ample carbonation. Overall, this is a really good brew.

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Photo of dwvarner77
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, almost black, brown color with a hint of ruby or purple tint. A small, thick dark chocolate-colored head falls quickly and leaves a slight lacing that has a ruby tint in it as well. Aroma is thick with dark malts and chocolate, plus indications of several other aromas, including vanilla, coffee, rum, and raisin.
Flavor is thick and dark, tons of chocolate and bitter coffee, background of vanilla and spice, aftertaste of coffee and a hint of piney hops and alcohol. As it warms, it becomes more complex as the dark spicy fruit flavors come through. A great session beer.
Mouthfeel is simultaneously thick and crisp; very slight carbonation gives it enough to be creamy but keep it from being syrupy. High ABV slows the drinkability by half a step, but otherwise supreme.
Not always my favorite style, but a brew like this could move it up the rankings pretty quickly.

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Photo of ZAP
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My bottle reads 10%..did they tone this down?

Great I-Stout here...looks the part...pitch black with a redish tan lace...Poured out thick...chugged out I guess....nose has some heat on it...the ABV is noticable on the aroma...smells boozy..rum like...dark fruits...

Very creamy and smooth mouthfeel...body is full

Taste is big on the cocoa...some brownie like chocolate notes...also rich dark fruits....molasses...rum...some faint smokey notes...finishes with a splash of alcohol...

A true sipper...this is a big tasting Imperial stout...reminds me of another Michigan brewed stout (Expedition)....would rate in my top 5-to-10 Imperial Stouts if not higher....possibly top 3-to-5. I like this style BIG and this fits the bill....very rich and full flavored....would pair great with a big maduro Churchill

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Photo of egajdzis
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an opaque black color with a dark brown, slightly red head, and light lacing on the glass. Aroma of coffee, chocolate, and raisins. Very full mouthfeel, included dry tastes of sweet chocolate and roasted malt. Very smooth and creamy impy stout.

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Photo of rabidawg
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
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 mynie
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Purchased at Eagle River Liquors in Fulton, Illinois--RIGHT ON THE IOWA/ILLINOIS BORDER)

Chugs out a deep, dark black. This is the opaqueiest stout I've ever seen, I think. There's a small chocolate head but really not enough carbonation to give it any volume. It's still pretty.

I'm drinking this very slightly chilled--twenty minutes in the fridge. The nose is complex, but not as much as I thought it would be--fruit and alcohol sweetness against very bitter dark chocolate and medium-roast coffee.

It tastes thick. Big dose of hops right up front and leaking into everything else, coffee and in the middle, bakers cocoa in the back. No sweetness here, just a blast that kicks you square in the ass.

This stout goes overboard in every way possible andsucceeds on all fronts.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours with some viscosity. Ink black. Big creamy brown head is generated slowly but surely and then dissipates quite quickly. Thin coating of brown lace forms on the glass as I drink. Nice nose of mocha, coffee bean, dark chocolate, vanilla and roasted malts. Flavor is a blast of bitter hops, bitter roasted malt tones, chocolate, anise, tart currants and black berries. The bitterness is almost over-riding, but not quite. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Body is almost full. Not quite. Overall, very solid.

Thanks for another beaut from Founders cokes.

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Photo of trumick
4.23/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black coal with a with a thin reddish brown head and lots of lacing.

Scent is sweet dark malts, dark fruits, coffee and a hint of chocoloate.

Taste is outstanding for the style and pretty much follows the nose. The dark roasted sweet malts at the forefront with the dark fruits showing a bit and an almost anise, spice, surprisingly dry finish.

Mouthfeel is fullbodoied and sticky. The carbination seems appropriate.

Drinkability is above averege for this particular style. The abv is large but this one is worth at least one or two more visits in one sitting.

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Photo of gimmehead
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black with a small milk chocolate colored head that only endures for a few seconds before sounding retreat. Smells of big, rich roasted malts, very sweet, yet bitter at the same time. Somewhat smokey with some soft vanilla and black licorice notes as well. Very rich malt flavor as well. A little roasted malt bitterness with some coffee flavor and something reminiscient of oaky tannins that give a somewhat sour vanilla flavor as it warms. Very warming alcoholic finish. Very thick and viscous, drinks like a meal.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The first bottle I had from this 4 pack seemed very flat though this one is a bit more lively. Reminds me of The Stones song "Paint It Black" . "black as night,black as coal,I wanna see the sun,blotted out from the sky..." This sucker is BLACK. Very slight tan head that finishes off the look very nicely. Moderate aroma-very black currant like. Somewhat floral and espresso. Big,bold,roasted flavor but no astringency as found in some imperials. Licorice,anise and a very nice residual treacle flavor. Floral flavor crosses over from the aroma. Huge mouthfeel but the overall package is damn well balanced. A damn fine brew-I knock it down just a smidge for the floral quality but its one hell of a beer. The more I try Founders beers the more I like them. Get this one for sure.

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Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit sour Balkan, but that sourness was moderated. Smooth and rich to sip. Good appearance and chocolate roast aroma. Whisper of smoke. Medium to full mouthfeel. Good lunch accompaniment. I think you brought it in Wohlfs, so thank you. Second bottle sent by Dr. Jay and not sourness.

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

On-Tap at the brewpub in Grand Rapids. Dark opaque bloody black with a big head of moch foam that lasts with superb lacing. Aromas of everything. Deep dark bakers chocolate comes to mind, than cocoa powder. Perhaps some vanilla, caramel, roasted malts, and green leafy hops as well. Taste is hoppy even at the start but roasted and powerful as well. Not very alcoholic, though, which is a plus in my eyes. Chocolate and coffee round out the middle and the finish is raw, green, leafy hops with an almost medicinal quality to it. Mouthfeel is thick, but not cloying or overly sweet or bitter, drinkability remains high, especially for a 12%impy. They serve this and the breakfast stout too cold at the brewpub though. This one really needs to warm up before all of it's complex flavor notes become apparant...

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Photo of bashiba
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a thick black with a small amount of dark brown head on it.

Smell was domintated by dark, burnt, bitter malt odors.

Taste is nice bitter heavy stout flavor a little bit of dark burnt malt flavors with a little bit of bitter chocolate mixing in, then has a nice earthy malt finish.

Mouthfeel was nice thick and creamy, exactly what you would expect from and Imp Stout.

Drinkability on this is good, they a do an amazing job masking the 12% ABV

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Photo of Maestro
4.77/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This baby was a doozie. I really enjoyed the fact that the alcohol was so well blended with a perfect mix of malts and hops. None of the three overpowered. This one was quite dark, black actually. The beer had a roasted, chocolate nose with hints of sweet caramel malt. The taste was out of sight, with lots of chocolate, coffee coming through. The rich, syrupy mouthfeel was well accented with the perfect carbonation. Drinkability is good, especially considering the extreme alcohol. I would recommend this to any stout lover who wants to let their expectations become exceeded.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pitched dark brown on a thick syrupy pour. Sits in the glass a nebulous black with a dark brown pitch. A heavy pour produced only a very thin, dark cocoa colored cap which slipped away quickly revealing its low carbonation and oily body as some residue glare-coats the glass in the areas its touched with tiny dots of lace speckled about.

Aroma is set within a deep chocolate alcoholic ester, stiff and portly with rum soaked prunes and hefty dark caramel. Slivers of molasses add to its neutral helm but keeps quite the incense of EtH over the top on this.

Solid roast and light burnt flavors make the forefront. Chocolate is brief. Quickly taking charge is scorched pruney heat laced with blackened malts and green hop bitterness. Deep coffee roast ensues into the finish with spicey molasses and dark caramel. Fruit woven tender parts inlay the back end while roasty coffee bits singe with the alcoholic heat. Smears into a curmudgeon of oily roasted/blackened dark fruit as it fades off with a showing of hop bite, heat, and throbbing in the throat.

Ample supplies of roast, bitterness, and heat add to the never ending load of oilyness the full bodied feel has. Beefy, bold, even a slight rough edged and brash in its character. It lets you know you're encountering something with heft here. Hold on to your taste buds, they're gonna get a load of roastified heat and dark sweets. 12% is hardly noticeable while drinking it down. Although the heat does lets you know to calm down for a minute and take it all in as this stuff works its magic. Drinkable; but dangerously so on the scale of head swimming delirium.

Thanks tr!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
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 GreenWBush
3.91/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This has to be one of the most gorgeous beers i've ever decanted. Any superlative-laden adjectives cannot even touch the transcendent beer-beauty you will witness as your pour this beer into your favorite chalice.

As my original notes caterwaul: "Guinness on satanic steroids". This beer, if placed by that beer for public display, would make Diaego - let alone the beer - wither and die. If only the rest of this beer's characteristics could be so incredibly wicked.

Roast coffee, bitter baker's chocolate, earthy roasted malts. The triumverate of obsidian elements that make up a true, potent Imperial stout. Check.

Nose of sweetness and extreme burnt hop intertwine with slight vinous alcohol and a return to chocolate and vanilla. Somehow all these elements don't synergize into exactly what i'm looking for.

Amazingly smooth mouthfeel and drinkability for the style - but still, a saltiness akin to that in Old Raspy lingers a bit over all of the other flavors to knock this one down just a peg.

But still, art in an onyx, sun-stealing continent of a beer.

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Photo of mntlover
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, blackhole black here no light escaping no ruby edges nothing but darkness. Aggressive pour gets a nice two finger head chocolate in color that lasts for a while and leaves some lace.

Aroma is roasted malt chocolate with dark fruit rasins, plums touch of figs. Some coffee also underneath the chocolate and fruit, faint citrus hops in the background struggling to escape.

Taste is big but starts slow, roasted flavors some sweet chocolate light and fruity with light carbonation. Then the bitterness kicks in coffee flavors mix with big citrus hop flavors and bitterness that linger and mix with caramel for the finish. Very big on flavor lots of roasted malt lots of hops but not over done very near perfection.

Mouthfeel is good full almost creamy nice rich brew.

Drinkability is great yet another Impy Stout I would like to keep in my cellar if I could buy it locally. Many thanks to gimmehead for this fine Founders brew.

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Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.36 out of 5 with 7,912 ratings