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: 1,890 | Ratings: 7,832
Photo of stakem
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black in color with more than a finger of severely dark tan head. You can fire up the high beams on this guy and no light is shining through. Fair retension and a decent amount of lace clings to the glassware. Aroma includes hops, coffee, chocolate and alcohol. Taste is bitter upfront from a combo of hops and burnt grain. Body of the beer includes the taste of burnt grains, bitter chocolate, strong black coffee and alcohol. The alcohol plays an interesting role with balancing out the different tastes this beer has to offer and strangely enough doesnt have much "warming" factor. Feel of this beer is thick with moderate carb. Overall quite good.

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Photo of Lunch
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz. bottle purchased from Julio's Liquors in Westboro, MA into my Brooklyn Brewery snifter at the appropriate temperature (02/25/10).

A: Pours dark black capped off with a tan head that rises about two fingers. Good retention and lacing.

S: Rich bouquet of milk chocolate, espresso, coffee, roasted malt, and dark chocolate.

T: Truly and exceptional flavor profile that is incredibly rich and well balanced. Decadent milk chocolate and cocoa start things off and the are followed by some roasted malt and some espresso. Some slight bitterness from the dark chocolate is apparent in the finish.

M: Great amount of creaminess and fullness with appropriately low carbonation. Silky, smooth and heavy.

D: This is a beer I could drink all day but unfortunately it is not available in my area. The 10.5% is hidden completely.

Overall I this is yet another wonderful and well-crafted Imperial Stout from Founders. Great depth of flavor and perfectly thick and creamy. Highly Recommended.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sipped fireside with John L. Parker's "Once a Runner." How's that for classy?

Pours oily black and gives rise to a 2 finger mud brown head. Horseshoe collar surrounds a pool of skim retention. Leaves lacey plaster at regular intervals like lines on a page.

Rich and sugary aroma: robust espresso, chocolate syrup, dark fruit, brown sugar and molasses. A rich and sugary aroma deserves a rich and sugary aroma and FIS did not disappoint. Dark milk chocolate, sugar cane, and molasses messengers all sent forth upon a vessel of warming alcohol...ah l'amour. Roast fade. Mouthfeel is...I can actually feel it caressing my mouth.

Gets kinda blah and monotonal as it warms which is a bummer because this is definitely a sipper.

via duffextracold

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Photo of BehindtheFinBrew
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle to tulip
No freshness date

A: Pours like a cold coffee. Thin carbonation with a milk chocolate head that dissipated quickly. Some lace clung to the glass.

S: Bittersweet chocolate and roasted malt dominate the smell. Alcohol twinge is there as well but not with an astringent character.

T: A beautiful smooth alcohol warming on the finish. Sweet raisins and roasted malt with the overlying bittersweet chocolate flavors. There is a lot of residual hop and malt bitterness. The flavor is clean, bold and sweet.

M: Low carbonation. Thick and slick yet crisp on the finish. Often Imperials can be overly thick with a syrup texture, but this one did not go that way.

D: Definitely a short session beer. It was a meal and a dessert in one ha! Not to mention the 10.50% ABV. A great treat though.

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Photo of WesWes
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a big time black color with a 1/4" brown head that fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a killer black malt bitterness up front as well as some warmth and a bit of chocolate malt sweetness. The taste is great also. It has a rich, earthy, black malt flavor that goes down extremely smooth with a bit of warmth in the finish. It is bitter with a ton of roasted barley. Wow, this is a smooth beer. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very well brewed IS. It's simplistic, but full flavored and damn enjoyable.

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Photo of WeimtimeBier
4.87/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- Thin dense mocha-brown head. This guy was creamy looking and smooth from the start of the pour. A pitch black motor oil body.

S- Dark rich chocolate and sweet alcohol notes. Behind that was a coffee and tobacco smell and maybe some black licorice.

T- Best tasting Imperial I have had. Dark cocoa and sweet creamy malt. Also some coffee in back and a slight wooded aftertaste (although it was not oak barrel aged). A balanced hop bitterness. Smoothest stout I have ever tasted. The alcohol was so sweet and subtle it was astounding.

M- Thick and creamy with moderate carbonation. The beer is like the best dessert in your mouth without leaving the sugary candy feeling where you just need to go brush your teeth after.

D- Being so smooth and creamy, this high gravity stout is very drinkable dispite having complex and robust flavors.

A beer you will remember

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Photo of AdamGarcia
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours absolute black. Motor oil. Small dark khaki head makes a brief appearance and quickly retreats to leave just a ring of froth.

S: I noticed the high ABV with my first sniff. Hints of cola. Over-ripe dark fruit. Alcohol is quite noticeable.

T: Big and delicious. Near perfect balance of huge malt and big hops. Wonderful deep, dark, almost charred flavors. Just a faint indication of nuttiness. Bitter chocolate & just a hint of black coffee in the finish.

M: Carbonation is just about right for the style. Full and slick. Lingering finish.

D: Dangerous. I notice heat in the smell but alcohol is not as present in the flavor of this beer as I would have expected. Isn't overly filling or heavy.

I've always liked Founders and the Imperial Stout certainly hasn't changed that. The breakfast stouts get all of the hype, but this is the real deal. Grab one if you get the opportunity.

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Photo of BigMike
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass.

Pure blackness. So black it looks like you could stick a pen in it and write a love letter. No light coming through this badboy at all. Head is about one finger. Its espresso tan with a reddish tinit. Fades quickly leaving spotty lacing.

Ok, so i get lot's of bittersweet chocolate on the nose. A touch of alcohol. A little bit of vanilla and some black licorice. Way in the back i get a faint smell of coffee.

Lot's of bitter chocolate. Also, there's more coffee then on the nose but not near as much as the Breakfast stout. Very bitter finish. The IBU's are 90 so this is pretty bitter for an Imperial stout. I also get a nice hop presence.

Pretty thick mouthfeel. It is 10.5% abv after all. Nice warming effect on the swallow but other then that, the alcohol isn't over powering.

This is a very underrated stout. Pretty much everything Founders brews is wonderful. They do stouts as good if not better, then practically anyone. Go out and buy some of these if you can.

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

A - This is the closest thing to motor oil I've ever poured into a glass. Such a thick black liquid, no light coming through this one. 1/4-inch tan head after a vigorous pour that subsides rather quickly to spotty lacing. Average lacing on the glass.

S - Bitter chocolate with a spicy alocohol presence. Quite sweet in the nose but smoothed out with a roasted malt character.

T&M - Nice thick mouthfeel. This is what I like in an RIS. Big sweet caramel and bitter chocolate. Nice roasted malts form the backbone. Spicy and warming alcohol really come through in the end. Much sweeter than I anticipated but there are some earthy hops burried in their to add a touch of bitterness.

D - Really sweet with high alocohol. Would be really difficult for me to have more than one. I would've liked to have a bit more roasted malt prominence and a bit more earthy hop. Still very good.

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Photo of BetterDarker
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into snifter

A- Jet black, motor oil-like pour with a surprisingly fluffy tan head.

S- Wonderfully inviting, there's a lot going on here. Bitter chocolate with hints of coffee and roasted malts.

T- The first sip actually put a smile on my face. This simply tastes great with roasted malts, bitter chocolate, and earthy hops.

M- Nice and thick, good carbonation.

D- Highly drinkable, despite the 10% ABV, looking forward to my next go at this.

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Photo of digita7693
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark dark dark, nice dark brown head
pours thick like molasses

S bitter chocolate, coffee, malt

T delicious, like a nice stout on steroids... slight bitter chocolate, coffee, but nothing overwhelming, in a good way,

D carbonation could be a little higher, but this is a very smooth, very tasty imperial stout

Pretty much my go to IS when it is around, I really do not think it gets much better than this, so balanced and delicious.

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Photo of Pabs311
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

for 10+% this beer was very smooth, especially after only being in the bottle for a couple months.Not to many imperial stouts out there can boast the same!

A- dark as night in appearance with a nice coffee colored head with good retention and lacing.

S- coffee, chocolate and a hint of dried fruit or molasses is also apparent in the nose. good malty backbone as well.

T- well balanced with the nose. same characteristics come through on the palate. very smooth. Any bitterness from this beer is from roasted malts rather than hops. the bitterness comes through as black coffee and bittersweet chocolate. slight alcohol, but not nearly as overwhelming as other 10+% imperials i've had.

M/D- Full bodied with a great moutfeel, silky smooth. finish lingers for a while. (could prolly drink a whole bud light and still taste this stout!). Very drinkable which is dangerous with the ABV, def one to share with a few friends.

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Photo of cdpike
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into snifter.

Pours a jet black with tight tan foam that leaves a good bit of creamy lace. Lots of big strong aromas of espresso and dark chocolate with some alcohol sweetness. Huge rich flavors rush in from every angle. The is silky smooth and slighty slick body with gentle carbonation usher in tons of chocolate covered espresso beans in the flavor. There's also a soft warming from the alcohol and a subtle fruitiness that round out the complex combination of flavors. The finish is a lasting bitterness much like a piece of ultra-dark chocolate. At 90 IBUs, I thought there might be a bit more hop character, but the bitterness is manifested in the roasty espresso and dark chocolate notes. This beer is incredibly delicious and every sip shows me something new with this one. Really quite outstanding. Bravo!

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Photo of garymuchow
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Such an unassuming label, but with closer inspection quite fascinating.
Rich roast aroma with notable coffee, spicy hops and soft alcohol. Very nice.
Pours with a smallish dark head that never really terminates. Rich and thick lacing, and always my favorite it leaves ring after each drink. Black as coal with only the slightest hints of red on the edges of the bottom.
Wow, what a nice drink. Full with the mildest softest carbonation that enhances the rich flavors. This beer pushes intensity of alcohol, bitterness and roast to the edge without falling off into excess. Incredibly smooth. Even holds dark fruit in small waves.
Besides the wonderful balance (considering the style) of this beer the drinkability is the standout quality. It's rare to have a beer this big and full and yet so easy to put down and yet want and expect another. It comes from just a slight lightness of body. Big, full, rich, yet somehow light enough to want another.
Well done and my compliments to the brewers.

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Photo of biglite351
3.97/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - nice and dark bit I could not get a head to form.

S - very nice and full but not overwhelming.

T - very flavorful and complex

M - no bitterness or tingling. Slight burn in the throat as a late after taste.

D - this could be an all-nighter. I would buy a case.

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Photo of backfat
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours dark, rich mahogany. leather bound books. Dark head with good lace. why did i always ignore this beer? i feel foolish, perhaps because breakfast stout is so good. smells of roasted malt, toffee, and a beautiful chocolate syrup like quality. made my buddy say 'oh jenny' in a forest gump voice, sums that up. alcohol is present, but welcomed. Thick as molasses, but i can't get over that smell! can't get any better. heavy and harsh. the taste lingers and lasts in memory, like the first time i saw the mighty ducks. what a movie. what a beer.

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Photo of biggred1
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle like used motor oil, thick, viscous and shiny black. A coffee colored head of dense foam emerges after the pour and leaves fine brown sugar lace on the glass. The nose is dark fudge and anise with a whiff of alcohol. The flavors of chocolate malt and coffee hit up front and are followed with a big hit of anise and charred sugar. Hop bitterness finishes the ride nicely. The flavors of this beer are truly appreciated and grow more intense and complex as it warms up with black strap molasses and fruity hop bittering becoming more prevalent. Full bodied and silky smooth. One great RIS that isn't $10+ a bomber.

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Photo of Freethyhops
4.06/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served in a pint.

A- pours pitch black. a little over a finger of creamy brown head. nice head retention for 10.5% and nice lacing.

S- light roast and chocolate. not a huge aroma. smells like possibly some molasses or licorice in there. not bad but not as nice on the nose as most Founders stouts.

T- again. chocolate is the main character with some light roasty coffee like flavors mixing in with it. some caramel/molasses/licorice sweetness in the backround. the high bitterness helps the coffee stand out as it warms. the booze does come out to play a little bit but barely

M- so thick and creamy. carbonation is low/medium and fitting for the style. hits in both departments here

D- some tasty stuff that is well worth the price I paid. I'd definitely pick up another 4pk if I see it again. I could certainly have another but this is one to save and keep around as long as possible.

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

Poured into a snifter.

4.0 A: Insanely aggressive pour gave two fingers of thick, but frothy dark brown head. Retention was average, but it left lots of creamy lacing behind.

4.0 S: Lots of roasted barley with a touch of sweet caramel. Dark chocolate and molasses are also big. Good, but nothing to write home about.

4.0 T: Lots of roasted flavors again to the point of having a slight burntness. Earthy bitter hops blend well with a subtle sweetness from the malts. Dark chocolate again with a touch of black licorice. This beer definitely goes for a flavor explosion instead of elegant meshings of intrices.

4.0 M: Lighter heavy body. Smooth carbonation. Aside from the burntness, the beer itself is quite smooth. Alcohol warms, but does not dominate.

4.0 D: Pretty good, but one glass is enough.

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

Poured into a Troeg's Teku

A-Black as oil. 1 inch head that is tan......great retention....... thick lacing that coats the entire

S-Roasty, some chocolate, coffee, caramel, toffee, a bit of chocolately sweetness that lingers in the aftertaste

T-Roasty, Black Licorice, Lots of Dark chocolate, molasses, Alcohol is somewhat hidden. dark fruits

M-Some carbonation. slick and oily, thick, like drinking a chocolate shake

D-great combination of smell, taste and mouthfeel

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Photo of Mdog
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Beautiful total blackness, high viscosity pour, big brown head, coats the glass with lacing as I drink.

Smell: Not particularly strong, some coffee and dark chocolate notes.

Taste: Dark chocolate, like having semi-sweet chocolate chips before you throw them in the cookie dough. Creamy, low bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy.

Drinkability: Hides the alcohol well, which can be dangerous, but very tasty and reasonably priced.

This is another great beer from Founders. Nice dark chocolate flavor, thick feel, hides the booze well. Definitely worth seeking out!

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A-Oil-black beer, looks viscous out of the bottle's mouth. Deep, dark brown chocolatey head, frothy and solid with OK retention, considering the style. The collar of bubbles remained for most of the time.

S-Heavy chocolate, slight bitter coffee aroma. Roasty.

T-Rich chocolate malt, bitter chocolate and coffee, with a hint of alcohol in there, too. Hop character and bitterness seems to arrive later and linger into the chocolatey aftertaste.

M-Thick, full body, as is evident from the appearance. Carbonation is medium-low, smooth, contributing to its frothy feel.

D-VERY tasty imperial stout. Thumbs up for this one. Smooth, deceivingly easy to drink. I want some more right now :D

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Received in a trade from jusdrinkit (Thanks). First ever Founders beer and it did not disapoint.

A: Pours an inky, dark black. Clear from the very first that this is not a weak beer. Head is a nice tan or almost bronze color, about an inch thick. Head didn't last long, but left nice lacing on the glass.

S: smell seems faint at first and not overpowering. Opens up a little with warmth. Lightly roasted coffee and faint chocolate flavors are present. THere's also something else in the background, almost a little lemon? For a 10%+ beer, cannot smell the alcohol.

T: wow, this is smooth. No heat, no strong alcohol. A touch of sweetness mixed in with the chocolate flavors. But not too much sweetness. Nicely balanced against a slight hop bitterness. Overall, this is very enjoyable taste and hard to believe it's a 10% brew.

M: very smooth. A little bit of carbonation. Full bodied, as you would expect for the style.

D: excellent. I could easily consume several of these and regret it in the morning. This was a really nice imperial stout.

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Photo of beerwolf77
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my pint glass the ber is pitch black. The thick chocolate hued head towers at least three fingers high and refuses to settle. After an excruciating wait thick gobs of lace are left around the glass. A one inch cap rests on top of the beer and never leaves.

The aroma is pure chocolate coffee cake. Roast malt with hints of molasses and dark fruit. So simple yet so spectacular.

The flavor is a mirror of the nose. Milk chocolate, coffee, roast malt, and hints of molasses. After some warming the booze starts to come through but not enough to be off putting.

Full creamy body. Hardly a trace of carbonation.

Overall a great RIS. This one deserves to be talked about more. Unfortunately the other big beers at Founders garner most of the accolades.

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Photo of angelmonster
4.01/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a 2 finger dark chocolate head, body is pitch black and no light goes through. Head died kinda fast and lacing wasnt really present

Smell is big on burnt, roasted malts. There's also some coffee grounds, hops, and faint alcohol.

Taste is of charred oak, roasted coffee at first. Chocolate syrup comes in next and hop bitterness is present also. Alcohol is present but not too overbearing for being almost 11 percent

Mouthfeel was good. Body was thick and smooth going down. Carbonation was aggressive for the style. Head contributed nothing to the beer which was disappointing

Drinkability was good. Overall this beer is a sipper but rather complex and deserves to be savored. Disappointed that head died so fast and didnt add any creaminess. Good stout, better than KBS but would prefer the regular Breakfast Stout

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,832 ratings.
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