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: 1,837 | Ratings: 7,634
Photo of geodonnokepyo
4.14/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/15/14 Enjoyed on 9/29/15

Pours a dark like purple/black color with brown head. Head did not retain well. The smell is very complex; cacao, stone fruits, and some coffee notes. Graham cracker aromas shows up as the beer warms. The flavor is very heavy on dark chocolate and roast. This is a very viscous and full bodied beer. Still a little boozy too. Overall, this is a great RIS. I would like to revisit this one with some more age on it.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.94/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours like motor oil (thick and syrupy). Pitch black with no light shining through. A bit low on carbonation (only about a 1 finger head).

Smells of chocolate and caramel with slight smokey coffee scent. Smells like a decadent dessert!

There is a huge bitter bite of hops at first, but is quickly diminished by strong smoked malt, chocolate, caramel, and coffee. There is a slight sourness at the beginning, but then the sweet syrupy flavors quickly flow in. As the flavors start to fade, smokiness remains and the beer finishes a bit dry.

Very thick and full bodied. Feels quite thick and oily/syrupy. Slight dry feel at finish.

This is an awesome brew. I am impressed with how flavorful and full the beer is. It also packs quite a punch at 10.5%. I would highly recommend this one, but don't down one of these on a full stomach as it is almost a meal on its own.

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Photo of PBRmeasap1980
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Jet black with milk chocolate looking head. I give all appearance a 4 because it IMO it shouldn't count, but his is beautiful. It looks like dessert
S- Semi sweet bakers chocolate, roasty malts
T- Coco, malty, semi sweet but not overwhelming
F- Like a creamy milk shake... this one has about 2 years on it which may help
O- Awesome stout

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into pint glass in September 2015.

Appearance: Dark black with a thick tan/brown head. Head is thick, and sticks to the glass.

Smell: Strong aroma of roasted coffee and malts. There is some hoppiness and a hint of sweetness like chocolate as well, but overall the roasted coffee dominate the others.

Taste: There is a nice balance between the malts and roasted coffee flavors. There is some chocolate and hop flavors to enhance the taste and add some complexity. There is a strong alcohol presence as with other RISs.

Mouth-feel: Very thick, but with a smooth creamy bodied. Not as biting as some other RISes.

This is a typically strong RIS, but it has a variety of flavors that adds a nice complexity to the beer. Although this is a big beer, it is smooth and really enjoyable to drink. Overall one of my favorite RIS, and another beer from Founders that it on the top of my list of favorites.

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Photo of BuccoFan
4.64/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

As I score this, I'm realizing that I'm giving this a higher score than Expedition stout, which I've generally labeled my favorite non-BA stout. Well, so be it.

Bottling date is 12-22-14. Aged eight-plus months in my basement. Pour is of a serious motor oil quality. I mean that. That character seems to too frequently get thrown around for RISs, but it's not always true. This is a thick pour, period. Body matches. Taste is roast, malt, with chocolate undertones.

Ultimately, I think this is far superior to the KBS and is very underrated. This is a beer that needs several months of aging though, so one should give this time when it is attained. It is everything an RIS should be.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Another surprise from Founders as i expected this to be more bitter than it was. The slight sweetness to balance it out at the end was a masterstroke....great body, look and feel,this is another excellent stout from founders.possibly the best imperial stout ive tried.

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Photo of Tilly
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

P: Black, opaque, slight root beer head that dissipates quickly
A: Great coffee, chocolate, caramel, smoke.
T: Follows the aroma. Great bitter coffee/chocolate smoke. Alcohol in the back.
M: Syupy, chewy, balanced.
O: Another superior IPA. From Founders!

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Photo of brother_rebus
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

jet black.
Few bubbles.
Smells like chocolate.
Flavored like bacon.
Feels like engine oil.
Overall very delish.
Would certainly buy more later.

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Photo of VikingBeer
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Nice, black color, with an attractive brown head that lasts not nearly as long as I would expect. Decent lacing retention, though. Smell is dominated by as slightly spicy, roasted-malt aroma, with notes of chocolate, coffee, and hints of molasses and hoppy spiciness. Flavors are roasty and fairly dry: bittersweet chocolate, African dark-roast coffee, black-strap molasses, and hints of bourbon, berries, plums, raisins, carob, and even more chocolate and coffee on the fairly dry finish. Nice balance of carbonation level and rich, full body. Excellent, and a great value; please keep it up, Founders!

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

A: Appearance is midnight black with a thin brown head that left rather quickly leaving very little behind.

S: Roasty, malts, caramel, some molasses and coffee. A nice nose.

T: The taste is where it is at with this one. There is a lovely blend of coffee, chocolate and roasts right up front, with a sweet molasses/treacle and vanilla middle and a good bitter finish.

M: Remarkably smooth with a full body and moderate carbonation.

O: Founders doesn't disappoint on this one, its reputation is well earned. A fine example of a RIS that is easy to sip and enjoy. The flavors just bounce around in your mouth making this one you want to sip slowly to enjoy a little longer.

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Photo of cjohns73
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle dated 12/2/2014 on 8/19/2015. Color is like a starless night. Very minimal head that just fizzled right out. Head color is very dark, looks like burnt butter in a skillet. Smell is like chocolate and vanilla soft-serve with a kahlua chaser. Sits in your mouth like double fudge cookies dunked in coffee. The finale is alcohol and vanilla and the contemplation of whether drinking straight maple syrup would be as thick as this.

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Photo of justinp444
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 01/03/15 (Date 8/14/2015) Poured into a tulip glass this beer has a 2 inch thick beige head with a black body. Smell of coffee, vanilla, a bit of caramel, some roasted malt, and a tiny bit of chocolate. Taste is coffee, chocolate, heavy roasted malt, very bitter, and a bit of caramel and vanilla on the end. It has a full mouth feel and body with a nice bit of carbonation.

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Photo of stompilator
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, into a snifter. Bottled 12/2/2014.

A - Poured completely jet black, milk-chocolate-brown head.

S - Chocolate, burnt sugar, toffee, booze.

T - Big explosion of baker's chocolate and toffee. Immensely sweet, with an incredibly elusive, complex malt profile. A very subtle roastiness hangs out simmering underneath this, meshing with the hop bitterness that comes out a bit near the end. Booze and dry chocolate hang out in the aftertaste.

M - Hugely full body, incredibly silky smooth, with a little dryness.

O - It's not often an imperial stout hits this level of excellence without any adjuncts. A gargantuan, wildly complex brew.

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Photo of GrinkoN
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Black, little head quickly fades

S: dark chocolate, some vanilla, little caramel, roasted coffee bean

T/F: chocolate, light vanilla, some caramel. Light hops yet bitter on the back end. Light carbonation, Full bodied. Fairly balanced.

O: a balanced and flavorful imperial stout. Would definitely buy again though I'd like to try more stouts to see how it holds up against others.

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Photo of lakemarkham
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Looks great. Dark looking beer with a fat, tan head. Lingers for a good while.

Smell is about what you'd expect from a beer of this sort: big and roasty, great malt scent, with just a little bit of molasses. Taste is similar, but with some coffee in there, and a big alcohol bite on it. The alcohol and espresso almost lend themselves to a Kahluha taste.

The feel's not as creamy as I would like, but I may just be spoiled by milk and oatmeal stouts. All in all, this is just a well-done stout. It's not one of those specialty beers that's going to have a whole lot going on, but I would probably fight over the last one in the fridge.

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Photo of CNoj012
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a jet black color with a one finger mocha head that seems to have the slightest tint of red in it. The head settles quickly to a small ring around the edge of the glass and there is spotted lacing. Smell is on point. Chocolate, coffee, roasted malts and booze. Taste is the same with coffee and chocolate up front and booze and a bit of bitterness on the back end. Feel is thick. It really coats the entire mouth. Light carbonation. Overall this beer is fantastic, but I actually prefer it with a bit of age on it. It is less boozy after a year in the cellar.

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Photo of BSiegs
4.73/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Black with a beautiful tan head. Hard to imagine a better looking pour. Great tasting, get a lot of roast, nice bitterness. Supremely full bodied mouthfeel. Fantastic beer.

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Photo of Edman5P
4.19/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 12/22/2014
Poured out like heavily used motor oil with no head although it tasted quite nice. Sweet dark chocolate and coffee on the nose and a very heavy taste of dark coffee and chocolate on the palate. Very nice imperial stout

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Photo of jakecattleco
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Updated original Mead Hall draft rating of 4.6 (overall) based on bottles of the 2016 batch. I really love this brew and the price point. Can't thank Founders enough for bringing distribution to NorCal. They've usually got space in my beer fridge for their heavier and darker offerings, SMB, FBS, KBS, and FIS are welcome anytime!

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Photo of classixIII
4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great RIS! Thick, black pour, short deep brown head that didn't stay very long. Chocolate, coffee aroma. Big taste, anise, more chocolate and coffee, a tad on the sweet side but the bitterness kicks in with some alcohol at the end. Get some!

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

Great r.i.s. especially if you like them thick, black, and sweet. Boozy ending.
Leap Day 2016, This is such an awesome beer. The more I drink it the more I love it. It is the thickest mouthfeel, blackest, thick dark head mouthfeel of espresso molasses deliciousness I have ever had.

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Photo of brap
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

A lot going on with this one. Smokey overtones with other flavors of chocolate, fruit, and sugars that seem to reveal themselves as you drink on. Really fantastic. Very impressed by this and a lot of the beers that Founder's has put out.

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Photo of MA_hops
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Hard hitting Russian imperial!!
A: Midnight black with a thick, mocha head that dissipates into a thin lacing.
S: Roasted malt, raisins, candied fruits, mixed nuts.
T: Superbly balanced between the roastedness character and the slight bitterness. Tastes similar to the aroma.
M: Big beer, thick mouthfeel. Goes down smooth and with a punch!
O: One of the better RIS's out there!

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

Very complex taste, creamy and smooth, rich in flavor. Slightly nutty aftertaste where you can really taste the "strength" (alcohol) but in a nice way.

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Photo of infinitebruner
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

May 13, 2015

12 oz bottle, snifter

A – Pours inky, oily black, and very viscous. A half-inch of rich chocolate brown foam, sudsy-bubbly, with very short retention.

S – Rich, dark chocolate, vanilla, some caramel, and boozy alcohol esters/fruitiness. Some pine and/or resin present. A touch of roasted coffee bean and brown sugar.

T – Dark, unsweetened chocolate with very light vanilla and caramel. Treacle and brown sugar, a faint impression of crème brulee. Hop flavor is minimal, but hop bitterness is very high, strong on the finish and lingering long after.

M – Carbonation is low but very much present. Body is full, but not as thick as I expected based on the pour. Sweetness and bitterness are very well balanced. Juicy to start and finishes moderately dry.

O – A well-constructed, balanced, aromatic, and flavorful imperial stout. Intense but still very drinkable… slowly.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,837 ratings.
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