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: 7,787
Photo of Jimbo87
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks great in a pint glass.

Smell: bread, plum, chocolate, roastiness. very good.

taste: very similar to the smell, plus some of that imperial stout bitterness and slightly more plum than in the smell. i notice hops more in the aftertaste. overall extremely balanced and smooth.

Somewhat on the thick side.

Excellent stout. This is probably tied with ten fidy as my favorite imperial russian stout.

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Photo of HeyItsChili
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler of 08 vintage Founders Imperial Stout from the Charleston Beer Exchange.

A - I poured this into a tulip glass. Pours an almost midnight-black brown with a thin, microscopically bubbled dark khaki head and quickly slips away to the edges of the glass.

S - Mellow coffee; perhaps was bitter at one time but has been mellowed by aging. Dark chocolate and cocoa, and a hint of hoppiness.

T - Up front it is like gourmet dark chocolate with a touch of added sweetness. Really faint hop bite in there. Ends with a really rich, cocoa filled, alcoholic bite to the aftertaste. Really, really nice.

M - Viscous, slightly more than medium bodied, decent carbonation.


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Photo of Chico1985
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours super thick and black, produces a very dark brown frothy head that doesn't last too long but leaves great lacing, I think I poured it too carefully. Smells are roasted malts, a bit of cocoa, coffee, licorice, and some booze. Taste is excellent, pure RIS... big on the roastiness, subtle coffee and dark chocolate. A bit of vanilla in the aftertaste. Alcohol is there but doesn't get in the way at all. Mouthfeel is great, definitely a stout you can "chew" which I love. For a 10.5 abv this is very drinkable, and the price is excellent. I only bought a single bottle which I sort of regret now, I will buy the 4-pack if I see it again.

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Photo of atremains
4.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours with a monstrous tan head atop a pitch black motor-oil body. Lacing is amazing. The head reduces to a cocoa froth. The beer smells like alcohol, being that it is 10.5 percent. Chocolate, grains, and malts in the nose and in the smell. A bit of vanilla and alcoholic bite. This is by one of the best RIS I've had, a good example of the style. The mouthfeel is creamy, smooth and feels chocolaty. The alcohol puts my tongue in a sleeper-hold. Drinkability is medium. Great beer.

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

Poured at cellar temp into a tulip. This bottle is fresh.

A - Motor oil black with a thick dark chocolate two finger head.

S - Hops hide behind the sweet roasted malts. A bit of booze is in there too.

T & M - There is an impressive balance here. At such a high IBU, the bitterness is present, but it plays second fiddle to the coffee and chocolate malt flavors. The intense chewy body brings it together very well, and defines this beer. If I had a complaint, it would be that the finish is a bit hot right now on this fresh bottle.

D - A very nice winter sipper. I'll be buying more so that a couple bottles actually stand a chance to be left alone in the cellar.

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Photo of birchstick
3.89/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - black with a one-finger with a billowing chocolate head

S - smells of booze, roasted malts and some baking chocolates

T - starts off with some sweet, chocolaty malts that fades into some marshmallow and toffee. There is a lot of roasted malt on the finish. This is a solid RIS - it isn't amped up on any one flavor - there is a nice balance to the sweet and roasted flavors.

M - very full and amazingly smooth, however watery at the same time. Weird.

D - at first I thought this was all burnt malt / coffee. I let it warm and it turned out to be a very good RIS. I had the first of my four bottles the other week and remembered it being about as good as this one was. This is very solid, nothing ground shaking, but nothing mediocre. Yet another solid brew in Founders repertoire.

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Photo of zeff80
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, black as oil color with no head to speak of at all. It left soapy residue on the glass.

S - It smelled of coffee, chocolate and roasty malts. There were some vanilla notes.

T - It tasted of dark chocolate and roasted malt with some bitter, sharp hop presence. There were touches of vanilla and boozy alcohol flavors.

M - It was soft, smooth and somewhat creamy. A medium to full-bodied beer with a warm alcohol presence.

D - This is a pretty good RIS. No surprise that Founders has yet another great beer in their lineup.

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

The smell has my absolutely required notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and alcohol threat.

The flavor does not disappoint in bringing the aroma to life in the mouth. There is a good burnt malt tannic acidity, if I'm saying it right. I want a bacon blue cheese burger with this and vanilla ice cream covered in hot fudge and cherry syrup.

Full bodied, bitter roasted malt finish. I like it. I like this uber imperial stout flavor without all the flavor additions of their other imperial stouts. You kids are on crack.

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

Very little carbonation, looks like motor oil, very dark and thick.

The smell just from the bottle was amazing, very obvious chocolate, pretty "yummy" aroma. The aroma on this is amazing, just excellent.

Woah.... mouthfeel is great, flavor is coffee and chocolate. Melds together very well. There is a nice creaminess in this which effects the taste and mouthfeel, very nice.

Finish is nice, lasts a pretty good amount of time and is quite tasty.

If you like Russian Imperial Stouts you will not be disappointed with this.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to slasher007 for sharing this bottle.

Pours black with a brown head. The aroma is a mix of smoke and roasted malt. The flavor is more of the same with smoke and malt as well as some coffee and possibly some vanilla. Thicker mouthfeel and lower carbonation. A very good imperial stout but in my opinion not as good as some of the top level beers in this category.

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

A: The pour is viscous and black with a finger or so off mocha colored foam that dissipates somewhat quickly, but leaves a nice bit of lacing.

S: Loads of coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, a bit of dark fruit, and a touch of alcohol.

T: The amount of chocolate in this beer is amazing. A very smooth chocolate and coffee taste with a nice hint of bitterness on the finish.

M: Very smooth, rich, and creamy.

D: An awesome RIS, one of the better ones I've had, actually. The alcohol is pretty much non-existent and the flavors are absolutely amazing and epitomize an RIS.

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Photo of pmccallum86
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark blackish color with a coffee colored head.

The smell is of coffee, cocoa, dark chocolates and maybe some dried fuits.

Taste is amazing, loads of chocolate and coffee. Lot of hops present as well but are somewhat subtle relative to the coffee and chocolate. Alcohol is not present even at 10.5%, very complex taste, one of the more coffee forward RIS out there.

Great mouthfeel, thick and chewy. Smooth as well with a medium level of carbonation.

Very drinkable beer, a must have for all beer lovers.

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

2009 vintage

Oily, black pour with a big, pillowy abyss of very dark brown head that's gonna leave some lacing. Very nice.

Hefty nose of hops, bitter coffee, oak, dark chocolate, sawdust?, maybe leather. Alot going on here for sure.

This one is not for the faint of heart. Thick and milky in the mouth, coating all surfaces with intense dark chocolate, alot of hop flavor for the style,an earthy dustiness, and a nice little alcohol burn to warm ya up to go with the long, dry finish.

This is a hoss and a sipper for sure. I'll be putting a 4-pack of it in my cellar shortly.

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

Poured into a widemouth snifter.

A - Jet jet black. 1 finger maroon head. This beer just looks evil!

S - Burnt malt goodness. I can't pick up the hops too much, but more of a caramel and burnt malt scent. Smells toasty!

T - Maltiness and goodness. The alcohol is present (unsurprising for a 10.5% brew) and the hops finish it well. This is one big tasting stout. And well balanced!

M - It's heavy and it burns a little. Swallow and it evens out. About as good as it gets for the style.

D - About as drinkable as an Imperial Stout gets at 10.5%. Sip lightly!

Dug this a lot. Very good beer.

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Photo of mwa423
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Pours jet black, thick and slow as motor oil. There is a small but thick tan head that sticks to the glass like glue.

S - Alcohol fills the nose, along with dark rich roasted malt. A bit of hops around the edges to tempt the tongue.

T - Lots of taste, strong heavy malty flavors backed up by some alcohol on the tongue, aftertaste of roasted malt and a bit of hop bitterness. Every second you swirl this around the tongue you get something new.

M/D - Mouthfeel is like a thin chocolate milkshake, coats the mouth and goes down smooth. This is as drinkable as an imperial stout gets, but certainly a one sip at a time beer.

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Photo of mikey711
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle as an extra from 321jeff. Thanks jeff

A: Black as black can get which a very big mocha colored frothy esspresso style head that leaves plenty of webs behind as it fades.

S: Roasty and smokey are very prevalent but that is exactly what I want in a stout. The smokiness has a peet like quality to it and he roastiness hs some coffee like qualities. Also some bitter chocolate notes in there and a mild hint of caramel sweetness

T: Milk and bitter chocolate upfront before finishing before transitiing to a roasty and smokey finish. The roastiness is very much of that burnt old coffee taste and the smokiness reminds me slight of a campfire

M: thick and creamy. No alcohol heat present but definitely can tell it is a fairly big beer.

D: Goes down pretty smooth and a whole bottle is no problem.

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

Founders Imperial Stout poured into Chris Chelios pint glass. A stout beer for a stout hockey player. This beer screams winter, it's about nine degrees in Detroit right now, so that means there are 8 extra degrees we don't need...

Appearance is as dark as a cold Detroit night, extremely hard pour generated half inch head. Fine dark brown lacing covers my glass as I sip this monster brew. Smell is typical Impy Stout, toasted nuts with a twinge of smoke, anise and coffee. A malty taste is at the forefront followed by strong anise and coffee flavor. As the brew lingers a powerful punch of hops is evident and leaves the tongue watering for more. Mouthfeel is very creamy for a beer with such an assertive ABV. This lends itself to an unmatched drinkability for a such a ginormus stout.

As a former student who lived in Kalamazoo for years it pains me to say that the RIS from the northern half of highway 131 challenges the reign of Bell's Expedition stout as the king of Michigan stouts, but the southern half of 131 still reins as king, if only barely.

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

Picked thisone up at the brewery as I heard it was available bottled again. Its been awhile since i've seen it.

Pours very dark, motor oil thick, full bodied. The head is awesome. Milk chocolate color of thick. pillow-like foam that maintains well. Lace is brief but web like.

Aroma is dark bakers chocolate, coffee bean and a smokey char of alcohol.

Taste carries those same qualities but with a dark fruit hint of overall intense flavor.

The mouthfeel does it for this beer. Very smooth with enough carbonation to soften the strength of this beer making very pleaseing to drink. No strong bitter over the top dry bean aftertaste. Just good stout imperial goodness.

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

Pours a solid black, opaque color with a very small rim of chocolate brown head.
Smell is plentiful of roasted and toasted malts with a lot of coffee bean and some cocoa.
Taste is richly complex. I am hammered with toasted coffee beans followed by roasted dark chocolate.
Finish is super strong. I taste bitter coffee for a long time after my last sip, it is fantastic.
Drinks great here. Very smooth, little booze, and high ABV, just what I like.

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Photo of Stunner97
3.53/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- dark black with very think tan head off the pour, nice appearance for the style

Smell- lots of coffee, some hops and roasted malts, not overwhelmed by the smell but not bad

Taste- Nice flavor but to me still a bit strong in the coffee department though not to level of their breakfast stout, alot of hoppy bitterness on this one this one with slight heat, balance not perfect but not bad

Mouthfeel- heavy with moderate carbonation

Drinkability- Decently drinkable though I truely was not ultra blown away by this stout by any means, just lacking that little something special that makes you really love a great stout, a good beer but not great

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Photo of 1fastz28
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

black as midnight with a big brown head that surpsingly laces quite well. the smell is very chocolately, lots of malt and especiallyi coffee dominate the nose. the taste is just incredible, one of the best stouts i've ever had, even has a slight sweet flavor to it, just an all around incredible beer. one of the few 5.0's i've given

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

12 ounce bottle poured into a chalice.

This is pitch black and creamy with about half an inch of head.

Smells of chocolate, whiskeys, sweet candies, woods, and coffee.

Taste starts with an extremely sweet rush of molasses, syrup, and chocolate and finishes with bitter hops/coffee. In between are various whiskeys and charred wood.

Mouthfeel is extremely thick and creamy.

This packs a punch but alcohol is not overwhelming.

All-around excellent.

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

Pours an beautiful black with a brown head that hung out a bit longer than I would have guessed. Excellent looking impying stout. Nose is full of big roasted malt aroma and a hint of molasses. Taste is big and roasty, excellent impy stout flavor. After having the breakfast stout so many times, its nice to have something without all the coffee in it. Probably not going to session this but its not hard to finish. I had this side by side with some other impy stouts that had a bit more of a hop profile but this was very tasty and well made, I'd buy it again.

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

A: Pours an uber dark brown thick with a robust tan head that leaves a medium amount of lacing as it warms to room temperature. Definitely looks the part as far as elite imperial stouts.

S: Smell is dominated by coffee and chocolate notes. You can sense the sweet yet alcahol laced notes.

T: Tastes exceptional...not among the top 5 of imperial stouts that I have enjoyed however this is very close. Coffee flavor is strong however the alcahol does tend to creep in where I would like there to be more complexity. You can hint the dark fruit notes with a bit of chocolate and cherry.

M: An astrigent and warming effect as this brew touches your mouth and tongue. As it warms to room temperature it actually becomes better as most imp stouts do in my opinion.

D: Along with other stouts or high gravity beers in general, this brew isn't among the elite however for an imp stout this is a good one to have a handful in a sitting.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter:

Appearance and Smell:Poured a nice opaque black similar to ten fidy. Left a nice thick, extremely dark brown creamy head which left nice layers of lacing down the glass. Smelled of very rich chocolate. Quite a bit of roastiness present, with a bit of caramel malt which compliments its nicely and helps hide the mild warmth on the nose from this one.

Taste and Mouthfeel:I really enjoy the flavor of this brew. Quite a bit of milky chocolate and molasses. Very rich decadant brew with some feint bitterness on the tail which really makes this brew. Pretty medium to heavy bodied brew which was slick and creamy on the tongue. Just enough bitterness to keep any of the sweetness from being too much. The last few sips of this were nothing far from delicious.

Drinkability:Very drinkable considering the style, and ABV of this brew. The very mild warmth and creamy body make this thing just slide down. Enough complexity to keep me sipping. I highly recommend trying this one.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,787 ratings.
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