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Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial 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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,843 | Ratings: 7,681
Photo of corby112
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From notes:

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest trace of lighter color when held to a light source and a 1.5 finger frothy mocha colored head. Decent retention, quickly fading to a lasting ring that leaves spots of lacing behind.

Dark roasted aroma with lots of silky dark chocolate character as well as hints of roasted coffee/espresso bean, oatmeal, nut, toffee burnt toast and alcohol sweetness.

Chewy full body with a deep roasted malt flavor. There is a huge silky chocolate and roasted coffee bean presence that is balanced vry nicely by a lactic cream character. I'm also picking up hints of toast, toffee, hazelnut, oatmeal and slight dark fruit. This beer is very comlex and the well masked ABV makes this dangerously drinkable. Slightly bittertowars the end of the palate with a bone dry finish and slight alcohol warmth. Excellent!

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Photo of celeriac
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1 year old bottle. Been waiting to see how this tastes with a little age on it.

Pours so beautifully... thick, black as hell, and an enormous frothy head that lingers for a long time. Aroma suggests deep and rich roasty chocolate, dark caramel, bit of earthiness, touch of leather.

The flavors are so well integrated it is difficult to tease them apart. Licorice, light roast coffee, some dark dried fruits - fig maybe? Notable for the lack of harsh, charred flavors. Finishes with just the right amount of bitterness to provide a drying finish, like a aftertaste on a piece of bittersweet chocolate. Slightest alcohol warming on the back of the throat, but hard to imagine that it's 10%. Mouthfeel is moderately sticky with med-low carbonation. Not quite creamy, but very smooth.

I'm not even a big fan of imperial stouts, but I can drink this every day. Intensely deliciously, and absurdly underrated, as I like it much better than Breakfast Stout.

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Photo of Pellinore1
3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The bottle pours deep black into a pint glass, producing about a finger of persistent brown head. This eventually fades, leaving some nice lacing.

Smells of roasted malts and chocolate. Just a bit boozy in the nose, as well.

The flavors are deep, dark, and very roasty. Rich, smoky malts dominate, with bitter chocolate notes and a hint of coffee.

This beer is smooth and thick. The high ABV is detectable, but not overwhelming.

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Photo of 05Harley
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 09

Purchased through West Lakeview Liquors, Chicago, Ill.

Price - $13.99/4-pack

It's cold as hell out there today and I needed to come home to a winter warmer and this was on the menu.

Appearance: Pours heavy with lots of body and plenty dark. A chocolate brownie colored head forms but quickly fades to bubbles clinging to the sides. Quite viscous like warm syrup on flap jacks. Little to no carbonation.

Smell: Aroma consists of milk chocolate, molasses, licorice and dark fruits.

Taste: A thick coating of burnt chocolate and caramel covers the tongue followed by some hop bitterness. A delicious experience.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, silky and dangerously smooth. Full bodied with soft carbonation. Mildly bitter and dry in the finish. Holy shit this is smooth.

Drinkability: A couple of these in one night is plenty to warm the bones on a chilly night. A great representation of the style and available without camping out in line.

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Photo of titosupertramp
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 11/21/09. Drinking thanks to Alewatcher.

A: Dark as it gets..no light getting through this one. Amazing dark mocha head.

S: Roasted malts, dark chocolate, sweetness..maybe just a little vanilla. No noticable alcohol.

T: Excellent! Get exactly what the nose lead you to believe. Chocolate, malty sweetness..bottle lists 90IBUs so I'm guess that's leading to some of the bitterness present. Molasses, mocha in the aftertaste.

M: Nice mouthfeel. Velvety smooth.

D: At 10.50%, this is an amazingly drinkable stout. I imagine a year in the bottle helps mellow it out. As the beer warms, the alcohol becomes a little more present, but not in an unpleasant manner. Could easily drink drink two of these in a sitting...three might test my threshold though.

I've never been disappointed by a Founders beer and their Imperial Stout keeps the streak alive. Jeff, thanks again.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 1 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours like a black motor oil - I have seen this from Founders before. Tightly wound 2 cm coffee colored head that sticks around for a while before fading. I did not see much lace decorating the glass.

Smell: The aroma jumps out of the glass into my nose. Roasted, chocolate, and black malt, obviously. Coffee, chocolate, and molasses fill out the aroma. Not much, if any hop aroma.

Taste: Founders just does an awesome job with their stouts. Smooth flavor throughout - starts with roasted and chocolate malt, coffee and chocolate flavors, and a hint of molasses. By the end I get a coffee bitterness really seizing control, but not much hoppiness. Still a strong roasted presence.

Mouthfeel: Ultimately creamy, the carbonation is almost squeezed out by the full body. Sticky on the lips.

Drinkability: In a night of drinking some new and interesting beers, this one stood our for its quality.

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The 09..First time in a long time. I chucked it vehemently into my tulip, the brown bubbly swooshing and rising high, violently spewing fusel alcohol into the sky like smoke rising from an awakened volcano.
Big alcohol aromas, chocolate, raisins, a little pine and earthiness. Enormous character.
The alcohol is massive, singing the gums and tongue with heat. Raisins and chocolate provide some soothing presence but the hop bitterness is apparent, and also, apparently, also very angry.
The burn is nice, one glass though should be about all I need for the night.
Impressive, definitely could've sat another 3 years and been outstanding.

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Photo of brewcrew76
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one is about 1-2 years old.

A - Solid black wit ha small creamy mocha head. Spotty lacing left behind.

S - Dark roasted malts, milk chocolate, espresso. Some soy sauce notes present from the age but in a good way.

T - Roasted malt, espresso, dark chocolate, slight hoppy bitterness. Hints of tobacco and leather.

M - Full body, slick, a bit oily. A nice sipper.

D - Tasty

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Photo of chalsk
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma of coffee, caramel, malt, and smoke. Pours a dark black color with a chocolate tan soapy head. Sweet up front, bitters and chocolate on the back end. Very tasty. The smoke is always a turn off for me. But if I get past the smoke, this beer is a very tasty stout.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.56/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Inky black crude pours to a small brown head. Alcohol feet are kicking.

Smells is roasted malts, a bit of dark chocolate, dark fruits and espresso. There may be a hint of alcohol, but it's just a hint if at all.

This is pretty much an taste-gasm. Bitter, dark chocolate covered, alcohol soaked raisins. Roasted, smoky malts. It's bitter. Sort of a coffee/chocolate bitter, but mostly I'm getting a lot of them 90 IBUs.

Full bodied, chewy, no carbonation. This thing is thick, but not quite Ten Fidy thick.

I would drink multiples of this, despite not being in my best interest.

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Photo of CaptainTripps
3.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a duvel tulip

A: Dark black (?). No light coming through this beer what so ever. Dark brown mocha head, one fingers worth that left little to no lacing.

S: Super dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, oak and molasses.

T: Blend of roasted malts, dark chocolate and sweetness makes this very enjoyable. Sweetness up front, bitterness in the finish.

M: Full/heavy bodied. Alcohol hidden very well.

D: Could see myself drinking this at home next to a fire after a long day on the hill in the dead of winter. Alcohol is a little high to drink more then 2 of these in a session without getting fairly buzzed.

Great tasting beer, but there is much better.

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Photo of nhindian
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a large snifter.

A - A seriously thick, viscous syrup poured out from the bottle, and even after a relatively hard pour of the last half of the body, it only built about a 1.5-finger, dark mocha colored head. Head leaves just about as fast as it arrives, and doesn't leave much at all in its wake. Lacing is fantastic as you can still see the crest of the head even when the beer is nearly killed.

S - Contrary to other Russian Imperial Stouts, this one actually doesn't smell like a coffee bomb. Rather, I'm getting tons of bitter chocolates and sweet, sweet malts. There is a bit of coffee, but it is quite subdued and there's not much of a roasted quality to it. Smells fairly bitter as a result of the chocolate, and I finally get some alcohol at the end of the smell.

T - Taste is very similar to the nose. Definitely more chocolate up front than lots of coffee, and it has a thick, bread-like characteristic too that adds a lot to the body. It's interesting, it's really sweet as a result of the wide variety of malts, but it's also very bitter in the finish. Getting a bit of vanilla and roasted oat as well.

M - Mouthfeel is heavy with little carbonation. Very thick and heavy, but also quite creamy and smooth. Adequately coats the mouth in the final bitterness.

D - Drinkability is moderate to high. Given the thickness when first pouring, I thought this would've been a mighty sipper, but it drinks much easier than I would've thought due to the high chocolate flavor and creamy body. High ABV and bitterness keeps this from being a day-long beer, and the style reserves itself for a cold, winter night.

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Photo of kzoobrew
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Enjoyed 03/24/2010

Pitch black body. There is no chance that light is going to break the surface. Two finger cinnamon colored head set atop recedes rather quickly. A respectable amount of scattered lacing is left clinging to the snifter.

Aroma is full dark chocolate and French roasted coffee. The darker edge is softened a bit by a vanilla aroma. Subtle hints of licorice and molasses scattered through out.

The flavors is a testament of Founders craftmanship. The blending of deep roasted flavors with a subtle sweetness is masterful. Bitterness from the roasted malt brings to mind dark chocolate and well roasted java. Smooth layers of vanilla keep the darker flavors in check. A bit of booze is noted though FIS never becomes terribly hot.

Full bodied Imperial Stout with a very creamy texture. Carbonation is low but spot on for the style. The flavor coats the mouth making for a long finish.

One of the best Imperial Stouts available. Certainly deserving comparisons with Expedition Stout and Ten Fidy as one of the top tier. Tremendously drinkable, outstanding beer.

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Photo of GabrielM
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

A - about as good as it gets with an imperial stout! Pitch black with a nice dark brown head on top.

S - coffee, vanilla, bittersweet chocolate, roasted malts, oak.

T - all of the nose but surprisingly balanced. No one flavor is dominant. It has that Founders stout taste, meaning I can definitely detect hints of the KBS and BS (or maybe it's the other way around) and I love it.

M - extremely smooth and a nice array of flavors on the palate.

D - the only thing that would stop me from drinking this one is the 10.5% ABV, which is basically undetectable, so I guess I'd eventually just pass out.

I really, really wish Founders were available here.

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Photo of rpardon7
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poure from a 12 oz bottle a jet black almost oil appearance with a tight thin tan head. Smells of chocolate cofee and roasted grain. The taste is just what you would expect from an impy stout. Roasted malt bitter up front with a bite of coffee and a smoother roasted malt and chocolate and an alchohol burn to finish. This beer is super smooth and creamy not overly biting and a very balanced carbonation. Drinkability is higher than you would imagine for a 10 percent beer that being said more than a few and you would be swimming.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: deep dark black, nearly ebony, loaded head and creamy garnet reddish froth. it was almost metallic swirling around in the glass.

smell: loaded coffee, and heavy chocolate aromas

taste: rich and slight chocolate roasted flavors but had a smooth rich taste, Dry, not sweet at all. loads of coffee flavor. compared to Ten Fidy I say it's right behind, not far.

mouthfeel: thick, creamy, good carbonation and very tasty

drinkability: Founders always right on. great example of a RIS

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Photo of SAxDRC5
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: not a very big head. Dark black. very thick and dense looking.

Smell: Dark fruits (fig?). Dark chocolate, coffee. slight alcohol scent.

Taste: figs, plums. roasted malt. Dark chocolate and espresso. "smokey flavor." Sweet in the beginning, bitter at the end. Great balance.

Feel: quite heavy. medium to low carbonation. velvety texture. absolutely perfect for this style of beer. slight alcohol burn at the end.

Drink: for 10.5% ABV, the drinkability is pretty dang impressive. I still wouldn't want more than one of these.

This is probably the best beer I have ever had. Founder's knows what they are doing.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap into a 4oz tulip at Stub & Herbs...Black pour, with not much head or retention...An aroma of all roast, not broken up enough with flavors, needs some sweetness...The taste is all very bitter and roasted coffee. Not bad, just one noted, and a very roasted imp, too much for my liking in this style.

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Photo of Blanco
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

dark brown color, chocolate head. nice head and very strong lacing. smell and taste are very similar, with a big chocolate profile. Almost no bitterness whatsoever. A hint of coffee as well though not very pronounced. slightly sweet, almost of cherries. mouthfeel is on the medium side and creamy. very drinkable, it has a lighter feel for an RIS, almost like a milk stout. given the ABV this could be a little dangerous as I defintely feel I can have 2-3 of these.

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Photo of dismal
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This particular bottle is a few months shy of being one year old. I've had this one fresh and enjoyed a lot but I'm going to review this one. Pours pitch black with a small dark brown head. Don't know if the pour was off or not but even with the small head it looks good. The smell right off is chocolate. That's really all I get out of it other than some roasted malt. Even though there isn't a lot going on in the smell what is there smells very nice. Like the smell the taste is very chocolatey. Kind of surprising since when I had it fresh it wasn't like this and there was some coffee in both the smell and taste. The mouthfeel is very thick and perfect for the RIS style. No alcohol present which is very nice making this very drinkable with the chocolate taste that is coming out. Overall fresh this one is great but with some time this one gets even better. I'm going to pick more up the next time it comes out, drink a couple fresh and age all the rest.

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Photo of Phelps
3.94/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle, received in a BIF box from callmemickey.

Appearance: pours a syrupy molasses-brown. A tiny head of cinnamon is a very late arrival, rising from the depths lazily. The top layer quickly fades to an almost unnoticeable ring.

Smell: sweet figs, sugary molasses, bitter espresso. A lovely balance between acrid roasted malt and dark fruits. Earthy, soil-like hops.

Taste: begins with a quick blast of sweet figs and plums that is very quickly replaced by tons of roasty-toasty malt. Lots of great, charred flavor here: heavily toasted bread, smoked wood, espresso. The sweetness rises again at the finish before leaving a nice bitterness lingering at the back of the mouth.

Feel: light, massaging, slightly fuzzy carbonation amidst a body that's medium-light, but nicely velvety. The alcohol content is only noticeable as a mild burn in the throat, which is pretty damn impressive for a beer that's essentially 20-proof.

Drink: for a 10-percent-plus ABV stout, this is obscenely smooth and drinkable. Great flavor and great balance. Founders knows their way around roasted malt.

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Photo of punkrkr27
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark black pour with a small, loose, brown head and good lacing. The aroma is a rich, deep blend of espresso and dark chocolate with notes of lush, ripe dark fruit, molasses, brown sugar and graham cracker. Intense espresso flavor with layers of milk chocolate, bakers chocolate, black strap molasses, brown sugar, caramel, dark fruit, and a healthy dose of spicy, piny hops. The mouthfeel is full and creamy with very gentle carbonation.

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Photo of alleykatking
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle. Review from notes...

A- Poured a motor oil color. One and a half finger mocha colored head that shows medium retention. Ringing lacing that shows on the glass.

S- Coffee and light espresso style roasts in the front. Chocolate malts come out as well. Some light alcohol can be detected. There is also a light hop in there toward the backend...mostly pine in nature.

T- Roasted malts with a light chocolate flavor in the front. Coffee comes into play toward the middle with light darker fruits as well. Earthy hops come into play toward the end with a hint of chocolate once again.

M- Heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Coffee and roasted malts left on the palate with light chocolate notes and alcohol in the aftertaste. Light drying on the palate from the beer. Flavors are clean and well put together.

D- This was a good beer from Founders. The ABV is well hidden I thought in this beer but will sneek up on you. I had no problem having a couple bottles of this but had to move onto something a little less in your face both flavor and alcohol wise.

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Photo of Crittervision
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

reviewed on 3-14-10

browner-than-average thin head composed of tiny bubbles, sitting atop an impenetrable, oily black body.

smells of semi-sweet chocolate. incredibly inviting. roasty with a hint of coffee. just a bit of bitter/alcohol sting evident. powdery chocolate.

taste is a bit tart, that smooths out. bitter chocolate, stings a bit in the finish. roasty. strangely seems to offer more when its colder. a hint of smoke that borders on acrid, but isnt quite. smell offers more than the taste. taste is a bit lacking, not really diluted, just not as full as the smell.

mouthfeel is creamy, and would be near perfect sans bite.

on a stout kind of day, one bottle might not be enough.

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Photo of Spica66
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received as an extra from either DavidEddie or Lunch (both have sent them!)

Poured into tulip with Fr. Ian at the end of the night of brewing batch #9.

A: Dark and oily with good head formation and retention.

S: This beer knocks your socks off with an explosion of dark, sharp roast aroma. Really, really makes you want to drink it.

T: No gimmick RIS. Dark roast and dark fruits. Hops are there, but not a major presence. This is definitely one of the better RIS I have had.

M: No stickiness. Well rounded and smooth. Very nice.

D: It was a pleasure to drink. There is no way you know this is 10.5% until later.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,681 ratings.
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