Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

1,868 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,868 | Ratings: 7,787
Photo of McStagger
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 12/02/15. Poured into a wine glass.

A: Black. Opaque with brown tinges. Espresso crema colored head. About a finger's worth. Excellent, excellent retention with pockets of sticky lacing left onto the glass.

S: Dark roasted malt, malted milk chocolate, dark chocolate, brown sugar and soy sauce.

T: Big roastiness leads. 75 IBU's flexes even after a year. Mid palate takes on some dark fruit characteristics, with intermingling layers of baking cocoa. Not as sugary tasting in the mouth as on the nose. Mid palate picks ups some oiliness and smokiness. Aftertaste of ground coffee beans and slightly sticky sugar.

M: Medium/full bodied. Thick, pretty luscious, with carbonation there to balance out the massive dextrin.

O: Great big bodied Imperial Stout. At a year it's still pretty aggressive. I bet this one would lay down wonderfully. Might have to throw a few down and revisit in a year or two.

 939 characters

4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I first reviewed this from memory, which is never a good idea.
I purchased one bottle the other day and returned to one of my favorite styles of beer to see if my opinion had changed.
Well clearly I had screwed up my original rating .
Founders has another masterpiece here in this Russian Imperial Stout .
Pours a pitch black with a nice thick foamy head that leaves tons of lacing .
The smell is loaded with rich flavors of roasted malts, coffee , chocolate and others.
The taste that follows is just as delicious as the smell. This was nothing like I had remembered from 1-2 years ago .
It was absolutely like "Mothers milk" as another member described it .
I could easily have one of these in a coffee mug with breakfast .
Mouthfeel is slightly lighter than say something thick as their Breakfast stout or a Ten Fidy.

Overall I was blown away and sad I only purchased one bottle as I couldn't even make it last as it was so tasty .
I can't wait to purchase some four packs of these if they are still available.
Again it was nothing like I had remembered, so I'm glad I gave it a return try .


 1,113 characters

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

Bottle at home. Pitch black, 100% opaque, pour, with a tall espresso head with good retention. The aroma includes notes of roasted malts, cocoa, coffee, licorice and light smoke. The taste follows those notes, very roasty chocolate bitteress with some subtle pine resin and grapefruit peel notes. Full bodied, medium to soft carbonation and with a very roasty and full of chocolate finish.

 389 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Wow, I don't think you can make a better looking stout, this dare I say might be perfect. Deep as 3am black, giant brown head on it, 1". Aroma hits all those familiar chocolate and coffee malt notes, with a decent hit of alcohol.

Taste reveals a decadent amount of rich chocolate, coffee, smoke and hops, the latter two in a much more restrained amount compared to the first two. Very smooth, makes you think there is oats in here, but manages to still bring the hop presence and bitterness around at the same time. Very restrained in the alcohol's pronouncement.

Great format, great consistency, great price. Elite 1st tier world class stuff.

 654 characters

Photo of DJ-Hophead
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle Beautiful Beers, Bury St Edmunds - Pours jet black with a medium tanned head. Medium carbonation. Nice lacing. Aroma - coffee, dark stoned fruits, ash/smoke, dark chocolate, caramel. Taste - sweet, smooth, coffee, caramel, light smoke, dark stoned fruits, crisp bitter finish with a light alcoholic fee. Wonderful RIS. One of the best that I have drank.

 360 characters

Photo of Trevor11
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Founders makes some amazing stouts and this one is definitely among some of their best work. Nice and black body with caramel colored head, smells of chocolate and coffee. However, it tastes mostly of chocolate for me. Overall, a delicious, rich stout that is a solid choice when available.

 290 characters

Photo of ForceForGood
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Bottled 12/15/15

Look: Pours a thick, dark black. Head is caramel mocha, average retention.

Smell: Cocoa, roasted malts, and coffee.

Taste: Immediately noticing cacao type flavors, followed by a moderately sweet smokiness. Somewhat bitter in the finish, with the smoky flavor lingering.

Feel: Chewy and sticky, but also smooth. Overall a really good stout!

 368 characters

Photo of Stevem68
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a motor oil black with a mocha head. Aroma is deep roasted charged malts with a dark fruit like sweetness. Flavor follows the nose with some bitterness on the back end. Almost like a cocao with some smokiness. Has a rich smooth body and overall a delicious stout.

 269 characters

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

Dark brown with thick dark brown head that sticks around a long time for the style, and has a dense glue-like lacing effect down the entire glass. Coffee and molasses on the palate and nose, and super mouth feel.

 213 characters

Photo of Hyptochrons
4.36/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

bottled 12/2014. appearance is black with a very thin head that recedes quickly. nose is pretty strong with aromas of dark malt, chocolate, cherry, raisin, licorice, molasses, leather, light spice. taste is chocolate and roasty malts up front, molasses, some dark fruits for sure, tobacco, and a slightly bitter roasty note reminiscent of espresso. mouthfeel is pretty solid - chewy. overall quite impressed with this one, and the two year old bottle has held up well.

 468 characters

Photo of Vader444
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle pour into tulip.

My first full house! This is simply incredible stuff. Easily the most flavoursome luxurious tasting stout that I have ever encountered. Trying hard to find a reason to take off a mark or two as I don't really believe in perfection but this really does tick every box for me. A regular buy for sure.


 334 characters

Photo of RickyS
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I think I never saw a thicker and creamier head, of pure chocolate brown, on top of a darker liquid. The smell is fantastic: chocolate, vanilla, hints of peat, espresso. Kind of a drying aroma. The taste diverges heavily toward tobacco and cocoa powder. A hint of licorice in the long finish. Very thick, oily and heavy but no alcohol around. One of the best imperial stout I have ever had.

 390 characters

Photo of MusicBeer_1961
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2015 vintage bottled 12/02/15.. Poured into a snifter...

Pours dark as night. Absolutely ZERO light or even reddish hue.. Completely dark as night. Smell is wonderful milk chocolate. It smells like a chocolate shake. The taste is phenomenal. Smooth with a medium to thick mouthfeel.. Taste is tremendous roasted, chocolately malts, a hint of dark fruit, and sweetened, charred French roast coffee..

This is a great brew..and if you enjoy Imperial Stouts, it's a must try...

 475 characters

Photo of crimsonfloyd
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black with dark, tan head. Smells of bakers chocolate. Tastes of dark chocolate followed by tobacco and black licorice. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.

 150 characters

Photo of BeerMan99
4.71/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Loved everything about this beer. Great appearance, great aroma. I actually prefer this to KBS although I am probably in the minority. Very easy drinking Imperial Stout.

 173 characters

Photo of Dentist666
4.66/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pint.
Thick as hell, pitch as profound darkness with deep brown head, chthonic retention.
Roasted and chocolate.
Thick and delicious.
Ultimate in its perfection.

 173 characters

Photo of johnnyd10vt
3.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

High grav American stout with dried fruit overtones. Perfectly black with a pretty dark brown head that is very thick. The smell and taste both feature that heavy dried fruit essence which, while I appreciate the complexity, isn't entirely my bag, baby

 252 characters

Photo of Uscjojo
4.56/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This stout pours thick oily and black. I had a 2 finger head that eventually turned
into a dark brown ring. The smell is chocolate, coffee, a hint of dark fruits, and malts.
The taste is a strong chocolate with a bitter hop finish. There is also a sweet molasses taste
upfront as it warms up. The feel is thick, chewy, and clings to your mouth nicely. Overall, this is
a nice stout to sip on and enjoy as it warms up. I am not too keen on hop bitterness, but this stout
blends it in very nice. This stout will never get old.

 528 characters

Photo of Bulabeers
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

L: Black with thin tan head, great lacing on the glass
S: Dark chocolate, roasted malt,
T: Dark chocolate, toasty bitter brew
F: Thick and sticky but not super thick and sticky
O: Great beer

 191 characters

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

Serving type: 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass

Pours deep mahogany brown (essentially black). Smell is of intense dark chocolate, roasted coffee, slightly sweet plum scent, with a small amount of hoppiness. Taste reflects the smell beautifully. Initial dark chocolate and toasted flavors lead into a prune/plum like flavor that finishes with a lingering roasty bitterness. Mouthfeel is thick, viscous, and carbonated just right. Overall this is a very good beer with great tastes and scents. An exemplary Russian imperial.

 524 characters

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

Poured bottle into snifter. No fizz till the end, very slow small head and a bracken of lace. Beautiful black color.

Nose is sweeter than expected, with the roast in the tail.

Taste: ah yes. Roasted like coffee, but also chocolate, sweet dark molasses. Ends with smoky wood like mesquite.

Thick, smooth mouth.

World class, indeed. Everything an imperial should be, bold, dark and exquisite. For fans of porters, stouts, and all brews rich and noir.

 453 characters

Photo of ByronDBeer
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L: Pitch black. Dark brown very good looking head, dissipates after a bit.
S: Not too much smell, coffee liquor smell?
T: Great balance of coffee, chocolate, and nuts. Great malts with enough hops to back it.
F: Good heavy body, medium carbonation.

Great heavy, dark, but balanced stout!

 288 characters

Photo of Ginagee68
3.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had it at JL Beers and it was full of rich flavors but just a little bit too much for my liking and I just felt I could not drink a full pint. I had it in a flight it was very enjoyable but just so much flavors all at once a little overpowering for me. I enjoyed the sample though and could take in small quantities.

 316 characters

Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A rotund big boisterous beer.
Pours bible black
An immortal dark brown tight knit head appears that laced the glass as the level dropped.
Every sip a solid russian imperial stout.
The flavor profile is so dense that the over 10 percent ABV hardly makes itself
The flavor is very smooth bearing hints of coffee, molasses, hops, anise-- I could go on...
Produces a long lasting and pleasant finish.
This beer's flavor coats the palate like a blanket and dissipates gently.
This is one beer I could tank all four bottles of the 4-pack in one sitting!

 568 characters

Photo of OrangeMen
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage (bottled 11/24/15)
~6 months since bottling

Appearance- Pours oily and viscous, black color, completely opaque. Half finger thick, dark tan colored head, creamy thick. Alcohol legs cling to glass, some spotty head lacing.

Aroma- Rich roast, deep roasted charred malts. Bittersweet dark chocolates, dry cocoa, and smoke. Mild sweet chocolate aromas, caramel. Touch of coffee and hops.

Taste- Charred malt bitterness, roast, smoke. Dark chocolates, earthy hops, cocoa, coffee. Velvety milk chocolates towards the finish, touch of caramel sweetness.

Feel- Medium to full, bitter and drying. Sticky creaminess to the body. Moderate to lower carbonation.

Overall- A really great age for this beer. Roasty / bitter profile is still in the forefront, but sweetness is coming through more. Robust, rich, sweet.

 821 characters

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,787 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.