Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout
7,917 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: 7,917 |  Reviews: 1,914
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a frothy, dense, creamy, one-finger thick brown colored head. The beer is an opaque black color that shows a full, clear, dark chocolate color around the edges when held up to the light. The aroma is intensely roasted with a back drop of burnt raisin that peeks through in the finish. Notes of dark chocolate and coffee liquor comes to the fore as I take my second draught of the nose. The alcohol really becomes prominent as time goes on and my nose gets use to the other aromatic notes. The burn, roasted malt notes remain full strength throughout though. The aroma is quite nice, it is only if I smell too long that the alcohol becomes noticeable; so don't linger to on to the drinken.

Ah, this has the proper mouth coating, palate consuming heft to it that I crave in a proper winter whether Imperial Stout. ON top of this the beer is the most well balanced and flavorful big beer I have had from Founders; and by flavor I mean ones of the good tasting variety. The alcohol, while here, is quite subtle and relegated to being noticed only in the finish underneath a roast espresso acidity that lingers along with he creamy, mouth coating dark chocolate notes. I really like the balance between rich dark chocolate flavors, smooth coffee cream, and roasted espresso notes. The roast character is restrained enough that it is not harsh and acrid.

As the beer warms up it even becomes more balanced and rich, with the roast burnt notes balancing even a step more. It still finishes with that bit of roast acidity, which helps to balance the mouth coating thickness; making you to want to take another sip that much sooner.

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Photo of isubsmith
4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Incredibly dark and dense black. Small brown head quickly dissipates but leaves lacing around the glass

Nose: Roasty, Chocolaty. Some sweeter caramel notes. Coffee and chocolate dominate as the beer warms up

Taste and mouthfeel: Lots bitter/dark chocolate. Hop bitterness as well. Quite strong bitterness right before the finish. Plenty of roast. Big mouthfeel. Sweet malty residue clings to the lips. The alcohol was hidden behind the bitter taste until the beer warmed up.

A very drinkable beer, but the alcohol might eventually catch up after a few. Definately recommended.

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Photo of merlin48
4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle courtesy of mntlover, pours a thick and dense, dirty motor oil body into a pint glass. Very opaque, with a small light brown head that is highlighted by hues of orange on the edges. The head slowly falls into a lasting cap and collar and leaves some spotty lacing around the glass.

Aroma is awash with huge, roasty, dark maltiness. Dark chocolate, espresso, day old coffee, some red berries, leather, and a suggestion of charcoal. Just a hint of the big alcohol.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, thick and rich. Mild alcohol warming, low carbonation, and a vinous grapeskin feel. Very appropriate feel for an excellent, impy stout.

Taste mirrors the nose, with lots of dark and bitter chocolate, old coffee, plums, prunes, leather, and some red berries. Alcohol presence is certainly present, but is largely obscured by the enormous dark roasty malt character. Earthy hop bitterness adds a subtle complexity. Finishes long and bitter, with a burnt coffee aftertaste. Very nice for style.

This one belongs in the elite ranks of American brewed, imperial stouts. An excellent sipper at room temperature, or just slightly chilled. Body is a bit heavy and challenging to have more than one at a sitting, but this is another superlative offering from Founders. Very well crafted, and teasingly complex.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

From the moment I started to pour this one, "Ho-leee shiiitt" came out of my mouth. People often describe bigger stouts as having a motor oil consistency. This clears that hurdle. This is nearing maple syrup thickness. By far, the thickest, most pitch black beer I've ever seen. Nothing I can think of really comes close. Carbonation is minimal, as expected from a brew this thick and alcoholic. That said, I've read some reviews that this beer isn't for some beer drinkers due to its thickness and lack of carbonation. And make no mistake, these characteristics are all accurate. But this beer, flavor monster on sensory overload that it is, is the beer for me.

Sweet cherry pie topping, plums, licorice and toasted burnt malts, leafy hops and chocolate in the nose. Holy goats, that's THICK! Flavor is dripping with smoky chocolate flavors, coffee, a mild dark fruit candy sweetness, and underneath it all a subtle hop bitterness lingers throughout. Carbonation is barely there, just tingling the throat in the finish. This is a friggin' meal. Chewy and thick can't even begin to describe. As far as Imperials go, I can't say this is my all-time favorite (I need more of it for that to happen...Founders, come to PA!!) but it ranks up there. Thickest, to date? Easily. Do I wish I had more than a little 12oz bottle? Oh yes, though I probably wouldn't have to eat for another day or so if I had a bomber. This beer is the cat's pajamas, get some if it's available.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
2.97/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I was really let down by this brew. All hyped up and took me nowhere. Poured out to a pitch black color with only notes of a head. Nearly no carbonation at all, not to mention that any lace was a long shot. Aromas of coffee, chocolate and dark rotted fruit. Nothing amazing so far. Flavor was abrasive and acidic, with strong indications of alcohol and burnt malts. Mouthfeel was good and thick, but wasn't enough to save this beer from being a disappointment. I'd probably pass on this if offered again. I may re-review again, but as for now, this brew was a course in undesireable beerdom. Pass on it.

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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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Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.36 out of 5 with 7,917 ratings