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

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Reviews: 1,868 | Ratings: 7,789
Photo of Dubber55
2.88/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours pitch black. The head is the color of coffee with cream and it quickly settles down to a thin collar around the beer. Very little lacing and retention

The aromas include coffee, chocolate, ethanol, maybe some licorice, and smoke

Initially, I taste mostly coffee up front. Then I get chocolate, roasted malts, smoke, and alcohol. You can really taste the roasted grains. There is a pretty big burnt/char character in this beer. The finish consists of lots of roasted malt. Its dry and bitter.

This is a viscous, thick, and chewy beer. Pretty creamy mouthfeel with low carbonation

The drinkability is below average in my opinion. Its just too bitter, burnt, and dry for me. The alcohol kick at the end of each sip doesnt help either. After a few ounces, I know what this beer is about and dont feel the need to drink anymore

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Photo of DovaliHops
4.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours very thick and dark with little brown color around the edges (when in the light). VERY little carbonation. I must have expected much more carbonation because of all the Stone IRS I've been having lately. Very strong chocolatey smell to this one. Strong chocolate and sweet sugary scents. Taste strong dark chocolates and black licorice. A bit of hoppy bitterness at the end as well. Sort of a chewy mouthfeel, great for dessert. This is a very rich imperial stout...I could only image having one of these in a single sitting.

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Photo of levifunk
3.82/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a - black. very low carbonation, but doesnt pour as thick as I expected.

s - black licorice, chocolate, roasted malts.

t - chocolate. smoke. a sizable bitter bit in the middle. some booze.

m - milky creamy mouthfeel. almost no carbonation.

o - decent beer, but too bitter for my taste. I think 1 is all I'd ever want....not very drinkable.

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Photo of jt31914
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle

A: Black with thin chocolate head and no lacing (hardly carbonated).

S: Not much smell, maybe some licorice and dark malt, but not much more.

T: Molasses, chocolate, dark malt, and licorice with a smoky flavor. Fairly balanced.

M/D: Not overly drinkable, but pretty smooth and thick feel.

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

After successfully completing a number of trades for KBS and Breakfast stout, it never occurred to me to try and pick up this one. Received as an extra, and luckily so. Pours a deep, midnight black color, topped by nice half inch or so of brown foam, which quickly recedes, becoming a light collar of lace and a few random bubbles. Aromas of good dark chocolate covered espresso beans, dark roast malt and a hint of young port. A little bit more wine on the palate initially, a metallic note, then lots of espresso and dark chocolate with some warming alcohol late. Definitely need to seek some more of this one out.

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

A- Poured from the bottle with a medium/dark foamy head, which quickly receded to a haze layer and collar. Little bits of lacing. COMPLETELY opaque dark brown body.

S- Smells of rich roasted and stewed malts, slight boozy aroma along with impressions of dark fruit. Simple yet elegant.

T- Very complex and rich. As anticipated, the stewed and dark malts are up front, which are quickly met with the dark fruity esters on the midpalate. Some moderate hop bitterness comes into the finish which lingers on the palate with some slightly roasty and estery notes.

M- Thick and chewy- slightly textured from presumed unattenuated sugars. Immense body overall. Delicate carbonation and low astringency.

D- Very quaffable, given the high ABV.

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Photo of fropones
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Black as night with no light shining through. A decent espresso head goes down to a nice half finger pancake on top.

S - Bakers' chocolate, toffee, molasses, roasted malt, and coffee.

T - Chocolate covered espresso beans off the bat, with more chocolate rounding it out. This is an extremely delicious brew.

M - Good carbonation, nice and chewy, creamy, full bodied.

D - Drinks extremely nice. Not even a sipper at 10.5 abv. Even though it's summer time I'm going to have to go pick up more of this stuff.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.53/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter on 5/14/10

Bottled on 11/27/09

On the pour I can see faint traces of scorched brown; once in the glass however, this beer is jet black. This actually has to be one of the most viscous beers I have poured. So thick, it was almost a drizzle. The head is solid two fingers of milk chocolate colored foam of small, densely situated bubbles. Reduced to about 25% retention after several minutes, it has left good lacing so far. Thin but good retention & spotty lace throughout.

Despite being a tad restrained the aroma is good. Licorice is notable upfront & quite prominent. Following are notes of sweet chocolate, roasted malts & hints of toffee. Maybe a spot of caramel & molasses. Not too much in the way of appreciable hops. A little booziness is also to be had.

This is a big, malty critter. Moderately sweet chocolate, caramel & licorice hit upfront, leading in to drier, roasted malts. It seems roasted coffee is a faint part of the equation. In any case, the finish is very dry. As with the nose, hops are minimal at best; not exactly a problem though. Come to think of it, hops may account for a portion of the bitterness that embodies the finish. Honestly though, something about the taste isn't quite working for me. Something is missing, possibly distinct burnt characteristics.

Very full bodied; this is a thick, chewy brew for sure. Carbonation is low; smooth & creamy, just like it should be. As mentioned above, the finish is very dry. Lots of roasted bitterness lingers on the finish for quite some time. At 10.5% abv, the alcohol is well-hidden.

Regardless of the fact that something about the taste doesn't fully jive with me, this is a really solid Imperial Stout. It's otherwise very impressive. More impressive is how easy of a drinker it is at the aforementioned abv. I would have no reservations about giving it another shot next time around, especially if I found it on draft. Don't let me discourage you from giving a try.

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Photo of nickadams2
4.73/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A_Pitch black with a thick dark brown head that quickly dissipates. Thick lacing.

S_Smells roasty with chocolate,espresso,and alcohol.

T_Roasted malt and dark fruits up front. Bitter dark chocolate and espresso round it out. Very tasty. Alcohol very well hidden with a gentle warming effect.

M_Very thick and very,very cream. Usually dont get too worked up about mouthfeel but this is great.

D_Buy a case.

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Photo of glazeman
3.46/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bomber poured into a snifter.

A: Black and totally opaque. Nice 1 finger tan head. The head fades fairly quickly into a swirly thin membrane with a nice collar.

S: Not as an intese of a smelling beer as I had expected. Smells fairly sweet, almost like peanut butter.

T/M: Something was missing here for me. This beer was quite a bit more bitter than I expected. It has a nutty/boozy flavor with hints of chocolate. Has a sticky feel and is slightly hot on the palate.

D: Alright, but doesn't really leave me yearning for more.

It was nice to try this beer, but I definatly prefer Goose Island's Night Stalker or Bell's Expedition over this beer.

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

It poured a pitch black and glugged out of the bottle the way I like it. There was a thing dark tan colored head the disappeared as fast as it came.

The nose is very impressive, strong roasted malts and strong sweet notes of molasses an caramel.

I am very impressed by this stout. Amazing chocolate and roasted malts are the first things that register with my tongue. Then a caramel and molasses like wave coast the tongue.

This stout is Chewy, amazing mouth feel. Not as great a mouth feel as KBS but still freaken thick.

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

Chilled bottle into a glass. 2009 vintage.

A: Pours motor oil black, with a finger of dark tan colored head that retains very well for a stout of this ABV. It doesn't leave much lacing down the sides, but it does maintain a fairly thick collar that looks very appealing.

S: Tons of roasted grain, bittersweet chocolate, molasses, caramel, anise, and a hint of dark fruit. Espresso is subdued but definitely there.

T: Fresh, this is very roasty, then chocolate-forward. Molasses and burnt caramel enter the fray. There is a delicious dark fruit undercurrent throughout (prunes, figs) that complements a flavorful burst of anise. The finish has tons of roasted grain and a light espresso component. There is a drying hop bitterness that linger well into the aftertaste. Quite complex, and a top-notch imperial stout.

M: Full-bodied. Creamy due to the low carbonation. Well-masked ABV, although it is lightly warming. Nicely rounded out when served just below room temperature. Overall fantastic, but I start to feel the sugar after working on a 12oz bottle alone.

D: Very high. I prefer Old Rasputin and Bell's Expedition, but this is in the next tier of imperial stouts.

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Photo of TK5150
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I should really be studying for my International Business Law final I have tomorrow (considering I haven't read any of the chapters yet), but I'm an outlaw. I'm going to drink a beer instead.

A-Pours black with a one finger dark brown head. No light penetrates even when held up to the light.

S- Lots of malty sweetness. Caramel, molasses, barbecue smokiness, licorice, roasted malt.

T- Big caramel, tons of molasses, cocoa, chocolate cake, and lots of licorice. Lingering bitterness from the roasted malt/90 IBU's. The only drawback is the finish is a bit acrid.

M- Full bodied and smooth. Coats the mouth very well.

D- I'm drinking this bottle too fast. Hope is slowly fading away on the studying front.

I love this stuff; you people that get this easily are lucky. A tremendous go-to Imperial stout. Maine has awful beer for the most part...I wish breweries like Founders would distribute here. One of the best imperial stouts for sure.

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

A: A super dark thick frothy head rises up 1 finger and slowly fades over pitch black and super thick beer.

N: Lots of roast, chocolate, hops, dark malts, with some bittering hops. Mostly dark malts, crystal, roasted, chocolate, etc. That adds some sweet aromas and syrupy too. THen come bitter hops with some earthy and spicy hop aromas. A little coffee too.

T: Pretty rich, lots of malts again, with lots of roast, a little chocolate, crystal, etc. This time some smoked malts too with some smoked flavor and even smoked gouda cheese or smoked cured meats. Chewy malts with all that. Touch of chocolate, some good roast and coffee. Some bitterness as well, some from roasted malts but quite a bit of hops too. Hops come in the earthy spicy variety. Semi smooth and a little creamy, but thick and chewy at the same time.

M: very thick and chewy, somewhat smooth and a little syrupy with decent carbonation.

F: Bitter! It has quite a bit of bitterness, mostly from the charred malts. WIth that is a touch of minerality and little soy sauce but not much. THere are also some hops that come in the finish adding more bitterness and earthy flavors. Lingering roast and some coffee, as well as perhaps black patent malt dark flavors. A little stickiness, but not as much as I expected for how thick and chewy it is. It also hides the booze well and drinks more like a 7-8% rather than 10.5%.

I love this stout, lots of dark malts, chewy, bitter, hoppy, and overall pretty drinkable. A nice roast, coffee, and chocolate addition as well but not over the top in any. Best of all is the price landing this at about $4 for a 12oz which is much more affordable than most great RIS beers.

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

Bottled. Black pour, brown head. Roasted coffee, alcohol, and soy sauce nose. Roasty, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, smoke, and alcohol in the flavor. Bitter finish, slightly astringent. Excellent, but not as "imperial" as others in this category. I think their KBS or standard Breakfast Stout are both better, but it is definitely a contest between superlative examples of the genre.

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Photo of philbe311
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours a still flat obsidian black as night color with a very limited head to start, then out of the abyss a dark charcoal grayish brown head emerges and cascades from within itself and take on chunky, thick, and frothy characteristics and displays excellent retention... Completely still... Loads and loads of lacing clings to the sides of the glass...

S - Roasted malts... Sweet milk chocolate... A slight hints of licorice and coffee... Quite pleasant and inviting...

T - The tastes mirror the ol' factory... Milk Chocolate... Roasted malts... Coffee... Just the slightest kiss of licorice... Smooth, even, and consistent through each sip and sip after sip...

M - Full bodied... Ultra Thick... Exceedingly smooth... Easy drinking, especially considering the 10+% ABV and intense stout flavors... Delectable... Chewy... I can't wait to take another sip...

D - Another exceptional and stellar offering from Founders... An exceptional stout whose mouthfeel and drinkability are off the charts... I will gladly pick up a 4-pk every winter and strongly advise that you do the same... Just stellar all the way around...

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

Poured into my cigar city snifter.

A- pours black in color. Held to the light I can make out some mohoghany hues. There is little to no head to speak of. Very little lacing.

A- big malt profile followed by hints of dark fruit, molassess and licorice.

T- nicley balanced between the malts and the hops, but I was kind of surprised that there was as much hops present as there was. Dark chocolate and licorice also play a small row in this beer

M- nice and thick.again, a little suprised by the bitter finish, but I'm very happy with the thickness. It's thick like month thick.

D- pretty good. I'd def have a couple more without a problem.

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Photo of wspscott
3.68/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in Duvel tulip
(bottled 11/20/09, I think, there is some smearing)

A: A very vigorous pour yields a very thick, very impressive 2-finger mocha colored head, that unfortunately, drops very quickly, but leaves a lot of lace. The color and texture is very much that of motor oil (a cliche, but very apt).
S: A lot of chocolate (more than I expect for a RIS) along with roasted malts and some dried fruit. No hint of hops which is a little surprising since the bottle mentions 90 IBUs.
T: The roasted malts dominate, along with some very dark caramel, a bit of residual malt sweetness makes this very easy to drink. Absolutely no hint of alcohol. There seems to be something missing, this comes across as "simple" where I want complex.
M: Nowhere near as cloying as some RISs, the yeast did a very good job in eating the sugars, still has a "richness" that makes this a sipper vs. a chugger. A low level of carbonation is completely within range of the style.
D: An almost too drinkable version of the style, the lack of alcohol combined with the attenuated mouthfeel makes this a very easy drinking beer. Ultimately, this comes across as a "simple" version of what the style can be. I am happy to have a couple more in the basement and will probably buy more in the future, but there are better examples of the style out there. Recommended.

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

Pours a luscious opaque sable, just a hair above jet black, with a thick and fine-bubbled tan head. Rich aroma is strongly of fine coffee with hints of cocoa and molasses. Flavor is like a good mocha, quality coffee with an undertone of dusty cocoa, a little oily, slightly bitter and just a bit sweet. Texture is smooth and just a little tingly, and has a good bite to it. Recommended to all stouties.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,789 ratings.
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