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: 1,888 | Ratings: 7,828
Photo of Red5StandingBy
4.11/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into standard pint glass. Bottled on November 30th 2016.

L: Opaque black, with chocolate milk colored 3 finger head that stays around for a long time.

S: Coffee, Dark Chocolate that makes your mouth water, dark roasted malts, leafy hops, molasses, vanilla.

T: Rich cocoa/chocolate and coffee, smoke, vanilla, char, leafy hop bitterness with the dark roasted malts adding a touch of bitterness as well. Pretty complex and tasty but doesn't match the flavors of their Breakfast Stout.

F: Full body. Thick, creamy and dry finish.

O: A great "winter warmer" a bit lacking in carbonation IMO but another great beer from Founder's who continues to impress.

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Photo of Everydayoff
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

355ml bottle poured into an imperial pint glass, served chill not cold.

Pitch black in color, the pour forms up majestic creamy dark tan head that stands proud with remarkable strength of retention before slowly subsiding to a forever effervesce layer on the surface and leaving numerous of sticky lacing web all around. I can even see the cascade effect of the head sip by sip, so gorgeous showcase.

The aroma is dominated all over by roasted malt, chocolate, coffee (just slight sour), and cocoa. There are also other varieties of scent as a complement ranging from creamy, charred nut, dark bread, vanilla, caramel, toffee, butter, licorice, and mild leafty hop.

So intense wave of chocolate, cocoa, and coffee sweeps throughout the taste buds and coats the palate for quite some time before roasted, charred nut, some smoke, vanilla, caramel, toffee, butter, licorice, and dark bread following closely together with a bitter kick from both hop and roasted malt to add more depths. It is sweet overall but not cloying being leverage by the greatness of chocolate, coffee, and roasted profile.

The body and palate sensation in term of feeling is nearly flawless, high viscosity, sticky, very full, slick and super velvety smooth through the mouthfeel. Carbonation is pretty low but still has some crisp that is enough to carry all the things well. Finish is pleasantly dry.

This Imperial Stout is a beast. It is tasty as hell and perfectly concealed its alcohol. My recommendation is to enjoy it slowly and only chill not too cold in order to let all the characters disclosing in full scale.

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Photo of Mongrel
4.24/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is possibly the best looking beer I've ever seen. It's what all other imperial stouts strive to be. Clearly very thick as it pours from the bottle, with an inky body and a very dark brown, creamy head. The head hangs around forever and coats the glass gloriously as you drink it down.

Smells like roasted malt, light coffee and chocolate. Not the hugest nose.

Flavor-wise, this beer is ready to go. Inky, concentrated notes of coffee, chocolate and licorice. Ample, but not harsh bitterness. Wood on the finish. No great need to age this one.

Mouthfeel picks up where this beer left off visually. Decadently thick and creamy. Finishes pretty dry despite its gravity and allows some roasty coffee bitterness to linger.

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Photo of BeerGuy8315
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Vintage bottled on 12/27/13.

A: Pours jet black in color. No head or lacing.

S: Aromas of coffee, vanilla, toffee, toasted malts, dark chocolate, caramel, raisins, and other dark fruits.

T: Taste matches aromas very well. Starts with dark chocolate and coffee followed by cream and vanilla, and then finishes with toasted malts, raisins, and dark fruits.

F: Full bodied. Thick, smooth, and creamy. Very small amount of carbonation.

O: Overall, this is a really great imperial stout. Nice that it's readily available. This was my first time trying this one and I really enjoyed it. Wish I would've tried a fresh one prior to the vintage to see how the flavor profile had changed, but I couldn't resist. Will definitely try this one again.

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Photo of Riff
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours an inky, dark black color with a rich, chocolate colored head that lingered for an exceptionally long time. Smells of chocolate, molasses, and malts. Tastes of coffee up front, strong black coffee. Dark chocolate flavors and molasses. Thick and rich stout with a slight bitterness at the end. Very nice stout, good sipping beer, certainly not one to be rushed but savored.

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

The 2016 release of this seasonal Russian Imperial Stout is visual perfection: a giant, sticky, pebbly dark-brown head looms atop a viscous, effervescent, impenetrably black body that is completely devoid of highlights; head retention is very good and lacing is excellent, consisting of thick slabs and cavelets. The medium-large nose is a delicious blend of black-strap molasses and cocoa with a more subtle chocolate ice cream character and hints of toffee and bitter coffee; it presages a balance between sweet and bitter and lies about the ABV, alcohol overtones being deceptively modest. The palate, as promised, is pretty much exactly in balance: a dark, seamless blend of molasses, rich semi-sweet chocolate and dark, bitter toffee, with modest smoky topnotes and a significant alcohol undertow. The finish is a surprisingly modest hit of smoky chocolate, and is pretty boozy; the linger is a moderate chocolate rebound bitterness that lasts for awhile. Mouthfeel is on point for the extra-full body, and is warming; the texture is sticky/thick, velvety smooth, and slightly peppery from the well-expressed carbonation. (12 oz bottle, 40 days after pkg)

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

Bottle dated 12/12/16. Appearance is jet black with a dark tan head. The head was about two inches. The smell was of roasted coffee and burnt chocolate. It tasted like bitter coffee and chocolate, also. It had a thick and rich mouthfeel. This all led to a bitter coffee aftertaste. This was very good. The bitterness was there, but it did not detract from the beer. This is what an imperial stout should be.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours pitch black, appearing opaque in the glass, with a half finger, ight brown head that dissipates to patches, leaving light lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, coffee, chocolate and hint of vanilla. Flavor is rich dark toasted malt with slight char, dark chocolate, molasses with smoky char developing into a smoky malt finish with light hop bitterness. Medium to full bodied, nice mouth feel. A rich, full flavored stout with great chocolate and toasted malt flavors and good char. Flavor is full throughout the taste, starting mostly malty and then revealing smokey and chocolate elements with hop bitterness in the finish. Really nicely done and balanced. Deserves its reputation.

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Photo of Masonz223
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled: 12/10/15

Smell: Camp fire smoke smoked meat tobacco dark chocolate fudge hints of dark fruits

Taste: upfront dark chocolate dark fruit sweetness raisin middle of the mouth big smokey notes camp fire smoke smoked meat jerky tobacco milk chocolate in the finish you get a big pop of pine bitterness that lingers on the tongue.

Feel: full body creamy. A beer that you definitely want to sip on.

Overall: this is a huge beer. Big smokey notes make this beer unique and very complex. A really good beer that I imagine will get better with age.

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Photo of Benbrue
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours like motor oil with a creamy coffee head. Aroma is big and rich with some boozy notes but this is a Russian Imperial Stout. Serious beer that is well balanced. I would love to cellar but too good to not enjoy now!

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Photo of Samlover55
4.24/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From The Cellar
12oz bottle into Libbey Tulip
Bottled on 12/2/15.....bit more than a year old
L- pours a thick syrup-y black with the darkest brown head I've ever seen
S- roasted smoky malt reminiscent of mesquite BBQ, milk chocolate, booze
T- super roasted malt notes that just ooze with sweet and spicy mesquite BBQ flavor, thick chocolate milk flavor, with a toned-down (year old) 75 IBU hoppy finish, and a smoky aftertaste
F- thick and viscous, this is one full-bodied heavy duty sipper, with slight carbonation tingle
Overall this is a balanced and very enjoyable RIS, that seems to have aged pretty nicely and especially great for these cold and wet winter months

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Photo of AustinWadkins
4.07/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours blackish-brown with a minimal that collars around the glass

Smells of roasted coffee, roasted malts, plums, cherry, bit of chocolate, and light smoke

Taste includes, cherry, roasted malts, light smoke, and a bit of booze

Overall I really love this beer! Full and smooth!

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Photo of DraconusDesanctus666
4.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle,into a Funky Buddha snifter.

Thick,creamy,dark khaki colored head,with amazing retention.Consists of small,to large bubbles.Beautiful lacing left on the side of the glass,as the head depletes.Once the head dissolves,it leaves a dark khaki ring around the glass,with a creamy patch in the center.The head retention is uncanny.Black as sin,with absolutely no light showing through the glass.If there is any carbonation I cannot see it due to the color.This beer looks amazing in the glass!!!

On the nose I get dark coffee,and dark chocolate up front,accentuated by dark fruits,roasted dark malts,toffee,cocoa,and caramel.The chocolate and the coffee definitely dominate.Also has a bit of a smokiness to it.Smells great!!!

The palate follows the nose,lots of coffee and chocolate up front,as well as dark fruits,caramel,toffee,dark roasted malts,and cocoa.Nice smokey aftertaste.

Thick,heavy,chewy,and viscous in body,it leaves a sticky coating inside your mouth.Little bit of a warm alcohol feel,with a smokey finish,and a chalky mouth feel.

This is a very good RIS,probably now one of my top 5 favorites.The flavors are very well blended,it smells delicious,it's thick and chewy,it's everything you want in a Russian Imperial Stout.

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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.

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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 .


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,828 ratings.
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