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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,837 | Ratings: 7,634
Photo of IronCitySteve
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pour a viscous black color with a thick brown foam head. The heads sticks around for a minute or two then it dissipates. Great lacing.

S: A decent amount of chocolate, roasted coffee with a little hops sprinkled in there.

T: This brew was complex but well put together. Lots of malt character up front, chocolate, molasses, burnt coffee, toast. There is some hop bitterness sprinkled in the middle and the back end finishes up with the same tastes from the front end.

M: Leaves a thick viscous creamy taste on the palate.

D: Loved this beer, very tasty. Perfect for sitting by the fire while the snow goes down.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An awesome unexpected extra sent by JohnQVegas, one of my all time favorite RIS, Founders. You are the man.

Beer is black and has a brown head with tiny bubbles that disappears quickly. Minimal lacing on the glass.

Beer is roasty and sweet in the aroma, inviting me to drink.

Beer is sweet and mildly roasty without an aftertaste. Lots of coffee flavors, no ash. Medium body, easy drinking, beautiful. Mildly sweet in the front overall very nice. So drinkable, great feeling in the mouth too. I love this beer. Next opportunity I'm buying a case of this.

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Photo of DamDweller
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Imperial Stout, Bottled 11.27.09:

Pours a nice ebony color. Notice that there isn't much head. Smells leaves me a bit wanting. There is a hint of roasted chocolate malts, but considering the style of beer I thought there would be a little more smell to it. There is a hint of alcohol on the nose. On the initial swallow the beer coats the tongue nicely, numbs it a little. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy. The coffee flavor comes out nicely and covers the alcohol very well. There isn't as much retention as I expected. As it warms up, the alcohol becomes a bit more evident and the beer takes a little more of a bitter turn. Overall, a nice beer for a cold winter day.

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Photo of scottyb88
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Bottle review.

A- jet black and kind of thick as it poured with a really nice 2 finger very brown head; completely opaque with minimal lacing

S-definitely some dark chocolate, raisins, and cherries; perhaps it's the age on the beer, but the hop and roasted character i was expecting has mellowed out; there is a faint aroma of roasted malt

T- definitely incorporates the chocolate and bitter coffee flavors in the taste with some "rasinets" type flavor as well; the end of the sip is a nice bit of alcohol and some sharpness from the hops

M- quite nice; it's really full but not quite chewy with a very silky flow; lingering aftertaste is definitely a bit of alcohol tingle with a semi-sweet dry finish that is not very harsh like some RIS

D- although it's not a fresh bottle, it has still held up really well; a fresh bottle would probably have a bit more hop bitterness to cut some of the alcohol tingle; at 10.5% and a noticeable 10.5% one in an evening is good for me...I'll definitely be picking up some fresh stuff this winter

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

Another beer I have yet to review from Founder's, even though I love all of their stuff. Here we go:

A: Pours a nice pitch black tar. I love the head this pours, it dissipates rather quickly. However, while it was there it had a dark milk chocolate head.

S: I can smell strong coffee and some mild caramel and vanilla.

T: It has loads of top shelf coffee and sweet yet bitter chocolate. I taste a faintness of hops. There is also a boozy'ness, not alcohol, but something else I'm not sure what it is.

M/D: It had everything you want in a stout, rich and creamy but not overwhelming. Great beer, this is the same as breakfast stout, if it wasn't for KBS, this would share number 1 with BS for the top beer in founders portfolio. Yum, still taste great even though it's 96 degrees out right now...

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Photo of GavDomDadGH
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of, if not, the best beers I have ever had the chance to drink. Pours out slow and thick. Very black. The smell is of a strong molasses and chocolate mixture. The taste is a three parter. 1 - Heavy coffee flavor 2 - Nice rich malt with hints of coffee and chocolate 3 - Finishes with an awesome blend of chocolate, molasses and java. This is just one of the greatest beers ever!

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Photo of Anthony1
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of billab914
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Bruery tulip. Poured a thick black color with a moderate dark tan head on it. The head all but faded away after a few minutes, but left some very good spider web lacing.

The aroma really has a lot of dark chocolate flavors coming through. A little coffee along with some roasted malts also play a pretty big role. A little malty, chocolaty, sweetness helps balance it out a bit. Very pleasant aroma.

The taste shows a lot of dark, bitter, chocolate to it with some coffee and roasted, slightly burnt malts coming through. It has just a hint of chocolaty sweetness to it as well. The chocolate flavors are excellent for a beer without actual chocolate added, that I know of at least.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side and moderately creamy. Carbonation is moderate. Drinkability is very good, it was a great beer to sip on this evening. The chocolate, bitter flavors were particularly nice. Excellent beer overall.

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Photo of nickd717
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle via trade from rtravers, back in my first trade ever in early 2009. Transcribing my review from notes. 12oz bottle.

Pours black and thick with a tan head.

Aroma of roast, coffee, chocolate, and slight hops.

Flavor is coffee, roast, chocolate, earth, molasses, and slight hop bitterness.

Full and smooth and rather creamy on the palate. Soft carbonation.

A very good and underappreciated RIS overall. Should get more hype.

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Photo of robwestcott
3.85/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured thick and black as night from the bottle to a dogfish head signature glass with a thin dark toffee head with minimal retention. next bottle i'll pour with purpose and see if the head's a bit better...

aroma is a bit roast-y following dark figs and plums.

much sweeter than expected, i'm not getting the coffee other reviewer's have noted, leaning more toward raisins, figs, dark molasses, maple and maybe a bit of chocolate malt.

very thick on the tongue, medium carbonation, very smooth and silky.

drinkable ? maybe 2, but no more.

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Photo of tpd975
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Since it is in the top 100 now figured I may as well pull it out of the beer fridge and rate it.

A: Pours a deep dark motor oil black. Nice tall tan head. Great retention and some solid lace.

S: Wonderful rich roasted aromas, strong coffee, chocolate malt, and mild vanilla. Light molasses and a touch of dark fruit.

T: Bold bold coffee, actually espresso. Dark chocolate with mild dark fruit notes. A touch of anise and a hint of herbal hops.

M: Rather full in body, big rich, and smooth.

D: Great an awesome stout.

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Photo of squaremile
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

HOLY SMOKES! Winter 09-10 vintage. This beer is insane! Pours straight up motor oil black. Some brown bubbles around the edges of the glass. The nose is decadent! Cocoa, espresso, molasses, licorice, vanilla, and booze. Taste is amazing. All of the above as flavors with a touch of hop bitterness to keep it from being too sweet. Flavor is HUGE. Mouthfeel is medium heavy, very smooth. Drinkability is pretty great considering the intensity of the flavors and the abv. This is one of my fav stouts ever. Maybe 6 more months and this would be at it's peak with the alcohol, which has the tiniest harshness left, which is the only ding for me. Amazing surprise considering how unassuming the bottle is and how under-hyped this is.

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Photo of vince4953529
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one hell of an opaque beer, with minimal carbonation to boot.
It tastes a bit chocolate-ly, and it's rich and smooth without the boozy effects.

This drinks supremely easy, just wish it is available easily in CA so it would become my daily session beer.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured into my glass to a finger of brown head. This beer is black. The head looks pretty thick. This is one sexy looking beer. The aroma is just about every dark scent you can imagine: chocolate, coffee, molasses, licorice, and some alcohol. The taste is alcohol forward at first. As the offering warms up it recedes with the bakers cocoa and coffee coming to the forefront. The taste is slightly bitter, but not too much. The mouthfeel is nice and viscous. This is a beer that I have been eying in the fridge for several months now. It was well worth the wait.

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Photo of beeragent
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a very thick black with a 1/4 inch head. Very minimal lacing on the glass. Looks just like motor oil, even with the resin on the glass as the beer moves.

S - Strong aroma of roasted malts and molasses. No real alcohol presence in the nose, at least its very well hidden.

T - The thick roasted malts, coffee, and bitter cocoa coat the palate, and leave the taste lingering long after the swallow. No hops are present and the alcohol content is very well hidden, appearing only briefly in the finish. This is my idea of an RIS!!

M - Heavy bodied with very low carbonation. Very smooth. Perfect body for an RIS.

D - Great flavor and body! Nose is strong and inviting. The only drawback to a beer like this is the higher abv keeping this from being a sessionable taste. Great example of the style!!

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Photo of dannyhipps
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my beloved Tripel Karmeliet oversized tulip, otherwise known as the "The Chalice of the King", or "King's Chalice", if you're into the whole brevity thing...

A- Pours a dark fudgy brown, nearly black, with a small yet gorgeous espresso foam colored head. Thin cap hangs around, a good-looking beer throughout.

S- Wow! This beer smells fantastic! A pure sensory treat, breathing this in. Chocolate-forward roasty malts , sweet dark fruits, carmelized molasses maybe, and just a hint of alcohol smells oh so good... Begs to be inhaled over and over again. Brown sugar raisin bread, malty. Yum.

T- Sublime. Rich malts, a smooth milk chocolate and candy bar nougat quality shines throughout, until a perfect moderate hop bitter finish, reminiscent of dark chocolate, coffee grounds, and maybe the faintest hint of smoky barrel char wraps this present up perfectly. The beauty of this beer is that all the flavors come across as delicious and mellow, with no overpowering qualities.

M- The mouthfeel on this stout is truly perfect. Luxuriant, silky satin smooth and creamy, although a semi-sweet chocolate treat lies in the front and middle, the mouthfeel is never cloying or sticky, neither is it astringent in the gloriously, "just-bitter-enough" finish. A silky smooth mouthfeel that I feel couldn't be more spot-on for an Imperial Stout.

D- As drinkable as you could ever possibly find in the style. The only reason I'm not immediately cracking another one open this very moment is simply because I haven't anymore in my possesion. If I had alot more sitting around, I fear the sin of gluttony would be a very real possibility!

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hey, a black ass IS from a great brewery. Shocking! Big beige to brown head on it. This is a big ol' boy. Aroma, thick chococoffee smell, alcohol.

Taste, rich, luscious, not at all menacing. Big time roasting. A little bit of smoke and chocolate taste wise. I can't get over how easy this is to drink, its like an imperial oatmeal stout or something. Founders is the best stout maker in the world, variety wise. I mean, BS, KBS and this? Geez. Even the bitterness and hopping are up to par. This beer is chock full o everything.

A great price on the Founder's IS too? What more can you ask for. . . well a KBS I guess. Its 'almost' that good, just not as complex.

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Photo of donniecuffs
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Update, 3/31/2011...tried this for the first time on draft at the Mohawk House, Sparta, NJ. Appearance same as before, possibly a little more lacing. The smell was a much bigger bouquet of cocoa powder, milk chocolate, and a bit of anise. The taste mirrored the nose, with a huge midpalate presence of velvety chocolate flavor, progressing to a dry cocoa powder and licorice finish. Alcohol definitely evident in the finish as well. Great, smooth slightly thick feel. This beer was much, much better on draft; my only criticism would be just a little too much alcohol and licorice on the finish. Otherwise an excellent imperial stout.

Poured black into a stemmed Brooklyn glass, with a thin tan head, no carbonation, and average lacing. Smelled of bittersweet chocolate, raisins, soap, and a big alcohol presence. The taste revealed roasted coffee bean with some dark chocolate, and finishing on a dry coffee note punctuated by the strong alcohol content, which was evident throughout. Not much evident of the dark fruit in the flavor as was detected in the aroma. Very thick, non-carbonated, slick mouthfeel as well. The all-around harshness of the alcohol flavor suggested that this beer warranted a healthy amount of time in the cellar. As such, I'd like to buy another and give it a second chance, but throw it in the basement for three years before drinking it.

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Photo of rwf08
3.61/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Viscous, black syrup. Looks like black strap molasses. 1/4 inch thick mocha head. No lacing. This beer looks awesome.

S: Pretty basic Impy Stout smell. You got your dark dried fruits, dark chocolate and some roast. And the faint warming alcohol.

T: Seems to have more unfermentable sugars in it than most. Almost cloyingly sweet. For me this is close to nauseating.

M: This is the thickest fullest beer I have ever had. Almost too much. Carbonation is high enough to keep a good head and bubbly body. But this is thick and kind of gross. I loved this in 09, but now not so much.

D: So as I said in 09 this was my fav Impy Stout, now I really don't like it. I feel sick to my stomach from it and it is just way too thick and sweet, I can't call this bad because it is probably just me at this time, but goodness, so sweet.

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Photo of hopstradamus
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Thick, opaque black with minimal chocolate colored foam that dissipates quickly into a ring around the inside of the glass with a bald spot in the middle.

S. Caramel, coffee, and burnt sugar layered between malt sweetness and the scent of dark chocolate.

T. Smoky roasted malt with hints of chocolate and licorice and maybe even a little vanilla. While the malt sweetness dominates, there is a hop bitterness in the finish.

M. Chewy and thick but also creamy and rich. Exactly what you expect from the style.

D. A real treat, a great beer to help wind down and eventful day or as a desert.

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Photo of IPAescotch
3.9/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured a thick syrupy black into a stange glass. Like a cloudy moonless night on a desert island in the deep pacific. Moderate to no head, what little head exists looks like a chocolate milkshake, makes me giddy. Lacing is there but not prominent, still clings to the glass.

Smells very alcoholic, not much to mask the abv. Chocolatey and rummy. My first thought was definitely towards the rum due to the high alcohol content, but some coffee and flowery scents subtly prevail.

Tastes biscuity and, yes, dark as deep space. Alcohol taste is actually well masked compared to in the scent. Lots of chocolate and coffee. I could go for a more hoppy taste, alas.

Thick as a milkshake, if not more so. Full-bodied and bitter in the aftertaste. Seriously like dark chocolate anise-laced, bitter cake. A dessert-y beer.

As said above, a dessert beer. I wouldn't drink more than two at a time unless i was really enjoying myself. The strength of character makes one plenty enjoyable.

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Photo of Tone
4.09/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/4 inch head of a tan color. Decent retention and slight lacing. Smells of alcohol, sweet malt, slight dark citrus, and a hint of hops. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp with an average carbonation level. There is also a slight dryness. Tastes of strong alcohol, roasted malt, sweet malt, slight hop, and a hint of dark citrus. Overall, a good RIS. Great blend, good body, aroma, and complexity.

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

This has been an elusive beer for me I've had many of Founders specialties and rarer brews but I have had trouble tracking down the Imperial Stout until I stopped in at D's this past week. I love anything dark they make especially their porter I wish they would make a standard stout as well because their porter is world class.

Appears a deep dark black hue with a big mocha tan head forming thick in my Sierra Nevada chalice. Fine even seckled lacing all around this black beauty.

Aroma has big dark chocolate and espresso bean freshly roasted tones with big vanilla and slight anise edges to it. Dark fruit hidden in the dark roasted malt character, almost a wine like nose in the finish.

Flavor is creamy roasted malt ridden with bitter dark chocolate and heavy espresso notes. Heavy hops hit the palate with a sharp creamy milk chocolate syrup finish this stuff is classic and should be a friend of any craft beer fiend.

Mouthfeel is full bodied coats the palate from the front to the back, I can't get enough of this style of big beer from Founders just tell them as they get it it's okay to send it to the Pittsburgh market.

Drinkability overall is incredible the best heavy dark beer I've had whilst living in te ohio valley for quite sometime.

Update version bottled on 12-15-11

Appears so dark that it absolutely absorbs all degrees of the visible light spectrum, big dark tan head almost a leathery brown thick soft textured head creamy billowing just outright beautiful. Fine speckled lacing dances around the sides of my Samuel Smith imperial pint glass. Aroma has earthy herbal hops big loads of dark chocolate notes, something soy sauce about this batch that works into an imperial stout profile, dark fruit hints of anise black licorice. Flavor is full of dark fruit big blast of coffee dark espresso grade strength, creamy dark chocolate bitterness just an aboslute excellent interpretation of an imperial sout. Full bodied stout that coats the palate from every angle the most filling beer around, even smooth carbonation not a cloying bone in this beers body. Supreme being of imperial stout in the world there's really not a better beer out there even compared to KBS, CBS, or Breakfast Stout this beer is the base example of all of those beers.

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Photo of mgbickel
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. The aggressive pour yielded a tiny layer of foam that grew to a ½ finger when agitated. The dark caramel head receded quickly; moderate lacing. The body is thick, black and dense...I failed to force light through this one...

The nose has lots of roasted coffee beans, chocolate and molasses. Some toasted malts and caramel are hiding in the background.

Oh yeah...the flavor sticks true to the nose and is wonderful!! Tons of sweet cocoa and caramel malts hit up front. The middle turns a little smoky and the finish finds the rich coffee and toasted malts. Complex and flavorful with a little boozy aftertaste.

Medium-thick body, creamy yet slick and mildly carbonated.

Drinkable...hells yeah! This is right up there with all the big boys! Is there a stout from Founders that isn't superb??

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

Bottle poured into tulip

A: Jet black pour with half inch of brown head with lots of lacing.

S: Milk and dark chocolate, coffee, dark fruits and molasses! Amazing!

T: Very similar to aroma with bitter hop finish.

M: Mouthfeel is medium. Hops gives it a lively finish.

D: Highly drinkable. Goes down smoothly.

This is my idea of a great 'standard' RIS.

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