Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
96
world-class
1,840 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,840
Ratings:
7,659
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
8.53%
 
 
Wants:
730
Gots:
2,389
For Trade:
153
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,840 | Ratings: 7,659
Photo of Arenbeer
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks alot to Beerwolf77 for this great stout

12oz stub into a Snifter

A- Pours like motor oil. Jet black with a super thin coffee brown head that leaves no lacing on the glass at all.

S- Roasted coffee and malts. With a little bit of chocolate in there as well.

T- Strong bitter coffee flavor dominates with a great creamy malt body and a slight alcohol sting as it warms but not bad at all for %10 ABV.

M- Full bodied with lower carbonation and a strong bitter dry finish that sticks with you for quite a while.

SkÅL!

 528 characters

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

a - opaque black color with a dark chocolate colored head. Reduced to a ring fairly quickly. Slight lacing.

s - chocolate, caramel, spice, alcohol

t - chocolate malts with an alcohol presence, finishes with a bitter bite. long lingering aftertaste.

m - very thick with some slight carbonation

d - a strong beer that needs to be sipped and enjoyed. There is a lot to offer here. A bit much for me by itself, but goes well with some spicy food.

 449 characters

Photo of Thur123
3.86/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is dark coffee black and about 99% opaque. Very little head from a generous pour. Looks heavy. The smell is cocoa with robust malts, a bit of molasses and an edge of something sweet like cream. The hops show up as a slight but balancing bitterness.

Glug glug glug

A big roasted malt flavor with notes of bitter chocolate, mellow cocoa, smoke, there's also a charred taste too. The hops show up much bigger in the taste with a significant bitter herbal hop edge showing up in the middle of the flavor and riding through the after taste. The mouth feel is thick and very heavy. This is good but has too much of a hop flavor to shine as a really tasty stout to me...Not quite complex enough in the malt.A very well made beer but not my favourite stout by any means.

 774 characters

Photo of lllarzzz
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with viscosity... thick and oily. Leaves a small light-brown head.

Very light but sweet aroma... no hint of the 10+ abv.

Wonderful taste. Compared to some of the highly complex beers I've tried from Founders, the Imperial Stout is fairly subdued. The start and finish is quite smooth, with a more intense and sweet middle. I keep thinking of really nice European dark chocolate when I sip.

The thick and slightly granular feel is tremendous.

Overall, this is a really, really nice imperial stout. What it lacks in complexity it makes up for with wonderful smoothness and flavor. Another great creation from Founders.

 630 characters

Photo of thegodfather2701
4.07/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours pitch black with a dark brown head which dissipates quickly.

S-Espresso, dark chocolate, brown sugar, a touch of dark fruits, and a lot of alcohol presence.

T-Espresso and dark chocolate dominate, cream, hops, and roasted malt are also present, as well as alcohol.

M-The mouthfeel is great like other imperial stouts from Founders. It is the highlight of this beer.

D-The dinkability suffers from too much espresso and alcohol presence in the flavor. Also its rather high abv. make it a sipper.

Overall, other than the mouthfeel this is a middle of the road imperial stout. I think the alcohol presence is just too much. I remember the first time I first drank this beer about a year ago and it smelled like Minwax.

 728 characters

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

Poured into a pint glass

A: Moderate pour yields 1/2 finger of dark brown head with good retention. Opaque dark brown/black liquid. Pretty darn ideal.

S: Licorice, roast, chocolate, vanilla. A bit mild though.

T: Coffee, green banana, bittersweet chocolate. Very tasty with a nice sweet entrance. Not quite as smooth or sweet as Breakfast Stout, but excellent still. Some booziness is held in check.

M: Bitterness from grain and hop. A bit of warmth is just enough.

D: Great. I'd order another and buy again.

 513 characters

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

Poured from a 12oz short bottle into my Portsmouth snifter/tulip. Pours a dark and thick black with a very slight reddish tinge. Fills the glass extrememly dark black with absolutely no light through. Head is a very late arrival...even with an aggressive pour. No head at all upon final pour...but alas! It starts a late arrival but remains very small, less than a finger in size and very deep tan, close to brown. Leaves very spotty lacing, not much to get excited over though.

Aroma has a slight bitterness to it, loads of coffee notes, and not much booze to speak of. Smells thick and malty(yes I said it, smells thick!).

This is a very good and solid stout! How does Founders keep making great beers-and stouts for that matter. All taste different, yet similar at the same time. This one is huge with the coffee notes. Very smooth and thick, malty mouthfeel. Not a great fridge temp beer...definitely let this one get a little warmer. Wow...as I continue to drink, velvety smooth. As the temp goes up on this beer...so does the booze in the mouthfeel. In the end...very good stout from Founders!

 1,101 characters

Photo of number1bum
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an absolute pitch black, very thick looking, with a good three inches of dark tan head. The head is dense and creamy and seems to last forever, coating the glass beautifully. This is perfection in a glass.

Smell is very rich with aromas of fudge and dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt and even some fruit, both a bit of dark fruit and a hint of citrus.

Taste is also very roasty and rich, with coffee and fudgy, dark chocolate flavors as well. There are layers of flavor in this thing, with the aforementioned components bursting onto the tongue with each sip. There is an fruity flavor but not as much as the smell; this baby is all about the roasty, dark malty flavors. There is a pretty good amount of hop bitterness in the finish to go along with the roasted malt and some espresso bean as well.

Mouthfeel is a viciously thick, chewy full body. Very creamy, and yet for its heft also so smooth. Where's the alcohol in this one? Does not reveal it's strength with any alcohol burn.

Wow, this is a great imperial stout plain and simple. I can't believe I haven't bothered to check this one out sooner. Shame on me. I won't make the mistake a second time.

 1,169 characters

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

My first time having the Imperial Stout, although I've had KBS more times than I can remember (blasphemy I know).

Poured into my Delirium Tremens tulip (no snifter yet :( ) from a room temperature 12 oz bottle from my "cellar" (a pile of wine boxes in apartment right now).

A: Pours smoothly with an no head but with a ring of beautifully copper colored foam. Inky black yet infinitely enticing; no light can get through.

S: Rich dark chocolate and an almost raspberry like dark fruitness. Booze comes through slightly. An almost whisky-ness to it, perhaps from the malts. Very nice, rich and deep.

T: Big chocolate malts upfront that segues into a nice hint of booziness. Finishes with dry coffee, tobacco and chocolate notes. Reminds me of eating extremely dark chocolate (but not overly bitter) in a pipe smoke filled room. The finish lingers and evolves to include hints of licorice and malts. Perfectly balanced, although perhaps a bit reserved in its youth.

M: Silky smooth with just enough viscosity. Not overwhelming or thick in the least. Exceptional.

D: Ridiculously smooth for it's purported 10.5%, so that may hit it's drinkability a bit. Although the perfect nightcap and sipping beer, it almost drinks like a porter or session stout. Kudos Founders, but beware drinkers!

O: Overall I enjoyed this new bottle very much. I'm excited to age a few and kick up the vinous notes quite a bit. It only gets better from here, now the only debate is whether to buy more...

 1,489 characters

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

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Pours black with a mocha-colored, 1-finger head leaving some spotty lacing.

S-Coffee, bitter roasted chocolate malts, a slight amount of booze. A bit meaty as well.

T-Chocolate with a slight bitter earthiness and a touch of metallic flavor at the end.

MF-Really well done on the mouthfeel. Nice and creamy with very low carbonation. Chewy with just enough sprtiz in the finish to round it all out.

D-Very drinkable for a 10%+ RIS. No really noticeable heat. Flavors are very balanced for such a young vintage.

 543 characters

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

On tap at Coles in Buffalo. This has the classical imperial stout appearance, with its midnight black body and creamy mocha head. Great lacing and retention. F*ck nitro, this is how you get a beer to look good without screwing with everything else. Nice rich nose - lots of chocolate and some mild coffee notes. Reminds me of a maltier chocolate milk, but with more depth.

Pretty awesome flavour is simple, but well-executed. Huge chocolate throughout, some dark fruit, coffee and vanilla. Drinks like a regular stout, but with the amped up flavours of an imperial. Rich creamy body adds an extra layer of luxury. Not as roasty or bitter as some, but luxurious and as chocolaty as anything I've come across.

 708 characters

Photo of kiddynamite920
4.36/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: This thing is beautiful, everything I would imagine from an Imperial stout. Pitch black, foamy dark brown head turns into a fizzy thin ring. Nice lacing going on here. Very nice appearance.

S: Aroma is of rich chocolate and coffee. A good burn of alcohol as well. Some good wood and smoke notes. Some raisin and bourbon aromas. A little too hot right now to pick up subtle notes.

T: Hotness of the nose transfers over slightly to the taste. Nice and rich. Big malty monster here, but the 90 IBU's certainly play their part well. Great balance. Has a dry quality, like dry cocoa on the tongue. Vanilla comes through quite well, really a well balanced Imp stout. Certainly hits the mark on everything RIS. Dry, roasty, bitter and boozy. Well above average RIS.

M: Silky as it hits the tongue and lips, a bit sticky. Carbonation is right on point. Crisp enough to deliver flavors well, but relaxed to create quality sipping.

D: Very flavorful and enjoyable, but with all RIS's...one or two is plenty. Very drinkable nonetheless, yet on a Sunday night one is enough.

 1,070 characters

Photo of ritzkiss
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Goblet on tap at Coles in Buffalo. Arrives a deep black with a thin, creamy mocha head which leaves sheets down the glass. It also arrives far too cold.

After sitting a bit, the nose reveals some rich roasty malts, bitter dark chocolate and a hint of coffee. Pretty straightforward.

This is nothing fancy, just an honest-to-God, straightforward, well-made imperial stout. Textbook really. Rich roasted malts, chocolate, just a hint of caramel sweetness, coffee, a hint of vanilla, a touch of leafy hops in the finish which, along with the hefty roast, add a nice light drying to complement the creamy, rich mouthfeel. Hides the ABV well, just superbly creamy, rich body.

Paired nicely with my chocolate dessert, would gladly drink this again!

 745 characters

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

Dark opaque black with thin milk chocolate head produced by a vigorous pour. Dark roasted malts with a bit of chocolate, coffee, and anise in the nose. Taste follows suit with big bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. Occasional hints of dark fruit, leafy hops, and wood/must. MF is big and oily, slick. Drinkability is surprisingly high. Very good and interesting sipper. Honestly I can't fault this beer that much. It's a very very good example of the style, potentially the best I've had without the addition of some sort of barrel aging. Tremendous work from Founders.

6/1/10
--Had this one again recently and it is incredible. It really is one of the best non-BA RIS's out there as far as I'm concerned. The depth of flavor paired with the classic taste and feel is just superb. I wish they would put this in some kind of barrel and bottle it.

 861 characters

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

A - Poured jet black with one finger of foamy coffee-coloured head that stuck around for a while.

S - The nose is full of chocolate and coffee with roasted malts and a hint of licorice.

T - The palate is bitter chocolate with some coffee and an overall roasted malt flavour. The hops are apparent here in the bitter finish and they act as a great compliment to the chocolate turning it in to a bitter dark chocolate palate. There is also a sweetness - maybe some molasses and caramel that compliments the bitter chocolate malts. This is an incredibly complex stout. The alcohol is somewhat present but not overwhelmingly so - after all it is 10.5% ABV.

M - Medium body with some chew. Smooth and silky.

D - This is the best imperial stout I have had. It is incredibly complex and perfect for a cold winter night.

I will definitely buy this stout over and over again. incredible!

 888 characters

Photo of ZeroSignal
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle

A - An aggressive pour yields a thin, dark brown head that quickly settles; the pour is jet black

S - Nose of chocolate, cocoa, coffee and caramel up front. Sweet, dark fruit and a light alcohol is present as well

T&M - Dark chocolate and a sugary sweetness, some alcohol and espresso; this feels semi-dry and full bodied, thick and slightly creamy.

D - High ABV is well hidden, and this is very nicely balanced; appropriately sweet but not overly so. This is definitely a sipper, but thoroughly enjoyable to drink

 545 characters

Photo of tr4nc3d
3.84/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz bottle poured into my snifter

This pours a velvet looking black color with no light passing through. The pour was barely able to produce a half inch mocha colored head that lacked head retention. Mere little ring on the outside edges of the beer and no lacing at all.

The aroma was pretty sweet smelling. Roasted malts are the prominent smell with a huge aroma of chocolate. I get some vanilla, dark fruit, and a perfume like scent

Sweet upfront taste of chocolate and candi sugar that leads to a roasted coffee flavor with some cream.

Mouthfeel is full bodied with average carbonation.

Overall I wanted a couple more flavors to come out of this Stout but it was worthy of trying once.

 699 characters

Photo of turnstile
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours thick and syrupy out of the bottle. Pitch black with a coffee-brown head that develops for a few seconds before receding into a thin ring around the glass. Minimal signs of carbonation.

Smell: Boozy; dark molasses with freshly-ground coffee with bittersweet chocolate mixed in. Roasted malts evntually come through against strong alcohol aromas.

Taste: Lactic-sweet with notes of milk chocolate and coffee. Moderate bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied to say the least. Smooth and thick on the tongue with little carbonation noticeable.

Drinkability: Typically bitterness + high ABV = sipper, but it's not the case with this brew. The delicious sweetness up front affords some great drinkability, but you'd be wise to enjoy this one slowly. Finishes a little too syrupy for my liking - the last few sips are tough to get through.

 864 characters

Photo of Metalmonk
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured out like black ink and oil, with an totally brown head. The head doesn't last long, thinning to a skim then a crown within a minute. Utterly jet black in appearance.

Burnt marshmallow, dark fruit, chocolate, coffee and hops mingle nicely in the nose. Hardly a trace of that 10.5% alcohol at first, but with a little warming and settling it does start to make itself known.

Flavor is big and bold, but not brash. The hops definitely make their mark, but at 90 IBUs, that's expected. They're on the citrus rind-y side, exerting a grapefruit-like essence, but that's carefully balanced and offset by healthy dark roast coffee bitterness, charred grain, more burnt marshmallow, graham cracker, big gooey milk chocolate (I'm getting that s'mores thing here)...and traces of dark fruit (fig, grape). Alcohol underlines all of that, and gives it a nice warm edge. Fantastic. The finish features the coffee and hops, mostly.

As fantastic as it tastes, it feels even better. Can I give it a 6 out of 5? Rounded, ultra-creamy, thick, gooey...oh yeah.

A total knockout from the one the finest breweries in the world. Seriously good stuff.

 1,138 characters

Photo of hoppymcgee
3.41/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 2009 vintage 12oz. bottle into a Bruery tulip.

A: The best feature of this beer. Black as night with a bubbly brown head that recedes into a wispy mass and laces the side of the glass.

S: Iced coffee, some malts, and smoked beachwood. Maybe a little bit of black currants from the aging.

T: Meh. I don't think the aging did this beer any well. Acridly roasted coffee, no sense of sweetness, way too bitter (they should have made this about 70 IBU's). I do sense a little mellow nougat flavor as this warms up.

M: Perfect carbonation level to mask a rather thin RIS. Dry finish.

D: Not too shabby. Even though I didn't like the taste that much it was pretty easy to take down - maybe one good feature from the aging?

Overall, my least favorite from the Founders portfolio of beers I've sampled thus far.

 822 characters

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

12 oz dated bottle into a tulip.

pours black as night and forms a thick, chocolate brown head that hangs around. nice chunky lacing too.

smells of molasses, raisin, alcohol and roasted deliciousness. taste is similar but much more complex. i'm picking up mostly roasted malts, but also some coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, raisin and apple. a dry, bittersweet hop finish gives this one great balance. alcohol content is noticeable, but not overpowering.

mouthfeel is heavy, but also incredibly smooth and creamy with a little bit of alcohol warming.

this beer is quite drinkable for being so strong and rich, bit i couldn't see anyone having more than 2 of these at any given time. fits the style perfectly, and is yet another star in the founders lineup.

 762 characters

Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: black with a nice lasting brown head and lacing.
S: dark chocolate, rum-soaked dark fruit, coffee.
T: big, sweet molasses-like chocolatey malts, a bit of rum-like booziness, fruitcake, roasty, bitter. warming alcohol on the long semi-sweet finish.
M: thick and viscous, carbonation struggles through.
D: a sipper that might improve with cellaring time.

 355 characters

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

12 ounce bottle with bottled on date of 10/2/09 poured into a Founders pint glass.

The Founders Imperial Stout pours a deep chocolate color with a tan head that only pops up after an aggressive pour. Not much lacing or retention to note. Aromas are mostly burnt coffee with a subtle chocolate presence. I'm not picking up any of the 10% abv in the nose. Quaff is sweet licorice with a bitter chocolate finish. Odd that I am not getting consistency with the nose and quaff as I do not notice any espresso or coffee beans in the quaff, or at least nothing like the nose. Mouthfeel is nice and thick like a stout should be. Drinkability is solid for this style mostly in comparison to the high price tag that comes with an Imperial stout.

 736 characters

Photo of jwhawkins81
4.02/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma - Roasted malts and a hint of hops

Appearance - Dark, dark brown with a thin light brown head. Not much carbonation from the pour at all really which is a slight let down in the appearance.

Taste - A ton of roast with hints of chocolate and a kicker of hop bite at the end. While this is still one of the better Russian Imperial Stouts I've had I would have preferred something a little sweeter.

Notes - A solid RIS that I will cellar. This one was served at 53.5 degrees.

 481 characters

Photo of MrDanno96
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours really thick and pitch black. A thin ring of tan head keeps mainly to the rim of the glass. A thin film of lace coats most of the inside of the glass.

S: Really wonderful aromas of coffee and dark roasted malt. Dark chocolate and some spicy alcohol are also apparent. Nice!

T: Espresso and burnt coffee really dominate right off the bat. Notes of dark chocolate and coco powder come through in the middle palate and well. Nice coffee bitterness comes through in the finish. Dark malts really shine here, especially black patent. Some bitterness lingers just a little too long, but it's not a big deal.

M: Nice full body and a good bite of carbonation. You can feel the alcohol as you swallow.

D: Another great beer from Founders. Not quite an elite Imperial Stout, but still a really good one.

 809 characters

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,659 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!