Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
foundersbrewing.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
75 IBU

Added by mjohn27603 on 01-13-2003

BEER STATS
Ratings:
7,860
Reviews:
1,900
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
8.53%
 
 
Wants:
752
Gots:
2,453
For Trade:
143
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,860 |  Reviews: 1,900
Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Knapp85
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured out as a black thick looking liquid. The head was brown in color with a light lacing. The smell of the beer was heavily roasted with some burnt wood aromas in there too. The taste of the beer was good, it was roasted and bitter with a light sweetness in there too. The mouthfeel had a good oily thickness to it which was nice. It left a good coating in the mouth too. Overall this beer is pretty good.

 418 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of nmann08
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is absolutely jet black in color. It poured like motor oil with a thin mocha head that quickly vanished, leaving only a think ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of roasted malts in the nose.
T: The beer has flavors of dark roasted malts and a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels full-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation and some dryness in the finish.
O: The beer itself can be overwhelming, but it pairs well with cookies.

 514 characters

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

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

Founders simply kill it with all of their larger-than-life stouts. Although for some, their standard Imperial Stout seeps through the cracks because it's readily available when in season, for me its in the upper echelon of stouts anywhere, hands down.

As black, and nearly as thick, as 30 weight motor oil, the beer has an ultra inky appearance that reads like onyx to the eye and with absolute opaqueness. Terse on head character, the beer releases a tiny sheet of sand-stained foam before dissolving to a translucent film that evenly coats the surface midway through the session. Although retention gives way a little too soon and the lacing succumbs to the alcohol and viscosity, the beer still gives a time honored appearance of well crafted stouts.

Espresso, brownie batter, milk chocolate, cognac-like alcohols, and fudge aromas mingle about the nose with sultry and savory scents. These seduce the olfactory senses in ways that few beers can. Background notes of burnt fruit, such as cherries, red grapes, and currants inform the roasted malts but are careful to never rival the sweeter toasted scent.

Delicious chocolaty fudge and brownie flavors become a bridge from aroma to taste in effortless fashion. Backed with the firm bitterness of espresso roast, charred grain, and near-smoky woods, the beer becomes more than malty sweetness and balances the beer to near perfection. Those esters of charbroiled fruits accent the almost smoky elements and gives the nearly abrasive ten percent alcohols something to hide behind.

Without saying, the beer is certainly full bodied and then some. It's oily coat is awash in the mouth and saturates the membranes with full effect. The low-lying alcohols allow the beer to rest weightedly on the mouth and seeps into the tissues with a mesmerizing mouthfeel. The beer retains its structure well past where the finish is expected, even as the bitterness from hops and the alcohol warmth wants closure. It's indefinate linger blends seamlessly into the next sip even if minutes away. This is a dessert beer for sure!

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Photo of kojevergas
3.56/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Founders Imperial Stout 2011 Vintage (bottled 12/22/11). Acquired from the very generous Duff27 in a trade. Thanks again, buddy! 10.50% ABV confirmed. I love Founders, so I have high hopes for this one. I haven't had it before, but I loved KBS and FBS. 90 IBUs. Label art is okay. 12 fl oz/355ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Samuel Smith's pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are sky high given the brewery and style (which they seem to be adept at).

Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm considerably over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger rich vibrant hold-tan head of fantastic cream and thickness, and pretty good (3 minute) retention for the high ABV. I love that gilded tan appearance; few imperial stouts can really pull that off. Body colour is a solid nontransparent opaque jet black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Nice lacing as the head recedes. That's exactly how an imperial stout should look.

Sm: Burnt malt, light fennel/licorice, creamy roasted barley, dark malts, chocolate, chocolate malt, and hints of light buried stonefruit. Light molasses. Malty sweetness. I can detect some light alcohol, but it's not a hot or boozy aroma; I can tell age may have done this one well. Coffee roast when I look for it. A surprisingly timid aroma of mere average strength. Understated, but I'd stop short of calling the aroma subtle per se. The fennel/licorice has me worried; I have a personal aversion to that flavour.

T: The first thing I notice is the black coffee bitterness and chocolate bitterness on the climax - which is more pronounced than expected, but welcome. It's more sweet in the first and early second acts. Chocolatey throughout - dark chocolate, not milk chocolate, though there is some cream up front. Little alcohol comes through at all; this isn't boozy or hot in any way. Maybe a twinge of licorice, but it doesn't bother me. I could use more roast - both in terms of barley and coffee, but there is some here. Burnt malt is prominent and works well. Dark malts abound. It's well put together and cohesive. A balanced Russian Imperial Stout, if a timid one. I want more depth of flavour than I'm getting, and each note doesn't ring distinct. Good amplitude, to be sure, but because the execution of the amplitude is so high, I have trouble really enjoying each distinct flavour. Any hop character is generic floral and functions here purely as a preservative. It's a rich flavour, but not overly so. The bitterness keeps the richness in check. Low acidity. Not at all a harsh flavour profile; it's quite mellow. Good body and build for the style. It's complex and well done, but I want bolder flavours. I quite like it and it's a tasty brew, but it's not perfect.

Mf: Warm and lightly creamy. Excellent carbonation. Not at all astringent. Good body here. It's smooth and wet. Thick and a bit chewy. Maybe a touch oily. Good presence on the palate. Complements the flavour profile well, even feeling a bit custom-tailored towards it. A bit smacky (if you will). I could use a touch more coarseness and dryness.

Dr: Drinkable for the style, but you wouldn't down it by the glass. It hides its ABV well and is an enjoyable sipper. It's a solid brew from Founders, but it's not quite on the level of KBS or even FBS, styles taken into consideration and all. I'd get it again and it's quite tasty, but it's not exemplary. A good Russian Imperial Stout that fans of the style will be pleased with, but it's not amongst the best out there. I'd recommend it to friends, but Founders does make better beers. I'll have little trouble finishing my bottle, but I do wish I had someone to split it with. Thanks again for the opportunity to try this, Duff27!

Low B

Probably best aged for 1-3 years.

Would pair well with chocolate or truffle.

 3,997 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of oline73
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the pre-2005 recipe as the bottle clearly states "Limited Edition on the top of the label."

Appearance: Pours a jet black inky color with a light brown head that hangs around for a good while and leaves some dots of lacing around the glass

Smell: Dark fruit, chocolate molasses, coffee and alcohol

Taste: Starts out with a chocolate and dark fruit mouthful that changes, after the swallow to some bitter tobacco flavors; slightly phenolic on the finish, which may be the result of age

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy; modest carbonation

Drinkability: A decent Impy Stout but I was expecting a bit more; may be because of the age, however - tasted again on 10/12/09 and drinks almost identically; just a touch less warmth from the alcohol and less phenolics - tasted in 2014 and has a lot more chocolate, no dark fruit and quite a bit of hops

 849 characters

Photo of emerge077
4.36/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Grey label, bottle is notched on the top left, 4-pack is dated on the inside "Sep 30, 2004". From Orbitalr0x's blog, the 2005 has the purple trim label, therefore this is the 2004 edition. Also, no ABV listed on the bottle.

Served at 55-60º.
Pours into an Oerbier tulip an impenetrable black, like an espresso brownie. Head is a mocha creme, cascading with tiny bubbles. Irregular spotty lacing with the occassional patchwork of lace. Zero light gets through this one...

Rich milk chocolate aroma, with earthy malt in the background.

Huge chocolate and charred malts, espresso bean, lactic acid. Bitterness of baker's chocolate, long smoky char in the finish. Sweet and sticky on the lips. This stuff is pretty decadent. The full, impossibly smooth feel is akin to it's cousins KBS and Breakfast Stout. Milky texture. Every bit as smooth and delectable as KBS, but without the bourbon barrel influence.

Mellowed enough with time to diminish the alcohol burn of a fresh bottle. My first sample of this was a fresh one about 2 years ago, and I thought it was a monster. This aged bottle proves that it's possible to tame the boozy beast...

Notes: 3-year vertical '04-'06
2004: Mildly sweet chocolate, some oxidation/papery, chewy feel, slight tea-like aftertaste, possibly from age/oxidation.
2005: Slightly peppery, grapey, chocolate is more in the back, very long in the finish, bitterness has begun to fade.
2006: Peppery, licorice smell, definitely a greater hop presence, dryer & more alcoholic, some phenols and heat.

Thanks to Jay23 for upping the ante that made this vertical possible.

 1,605 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a medium dark brown foamy head with better then average retention. Aroma of deep black chocolate with slight roasted malt without any discernable hops. Taste is also dominated by the sweet black chocolate with some roasted malt. The taste is really sweeter then expected and I can’t seem to notice any hops or bitterness which kind of seems to be missing. Body is above average with a full creamy texture. Alcohol is very well hidden which is another plus. Nice and enjoyable but would have appreciated a higher hops profile.

 570 characters

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

Photo of largadeer
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from WeisGuy. Thank you, Shane.

2010 batch. The body is black as pitch, the head a deep brown that quickly recedes to a thick collar.

Delicious oatmeal raisin cookie aroma. Dark chocolate and black licorice are equally prevalent. Alcohol is barely noticed.

The palate, like the aroma, is much like an oatmeal cookie. Rich, but not terribly sweet - there's a good balance of charred malt, black licorice and bittersweet chocolate. Full bodied, a little ashy and tar-y mid-palate. The finish is sticky, bittersweet, deceptively smooth for a 10.5% beer. There's no trace of alcohol, no harshness; it's a very mellow beer, though drinkability is hampered by the sheer richness of it.

On the whole, I don't enjoy this as much as Breakfast Stout or KBS, but it's a great beer nonetheless.

 799 characters

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

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 zestar
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of dmorgan310
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 12/29/2011. Pours thick pitch black color with a small dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, char, smoke, toast, cocoa, light dark fruit, and earthy hops; a bit of alcohol as it warms up. Damn nice aromas with good balance, strength, and complexity. Taste of huge espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt, char, smoke, toast, cocoa, and earthy hops. Good amount of roasted coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt, char, smoke, toast, and cocoa on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic balance and complexity of roasted flavors; with a great hop/roast balance; and some slight cloying bitterness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and lightly sticky mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Russian imperial stout as expected. Great balance, robustness, and complexity of roasted flavors; and very smooth to slowly sip on. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,238 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

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

On tap at stubs. Served in a goblet.

Small tan head, good because I got more beer. Fades down after a bit but leaves splattered lace. Color is a dark black.

Aroma: lots of roasted malts and chocolate. Nice toffee and caramel flavors with tons of dark dried fruits. Cherries, raisin, and plums. Very rich. Reminds me of expedition.

Taste: big malty profile. Some roasted flavors and coffee flavors. Nice blend of cherries and raisins. Lots of chocolate malt and some grassy hops. Well done.

Mouthfeel: a little syrupy, but smooth. Medium amount of carbonation with a pretty full body. Ends sweet and malty.

Overall, a pretty solid beer and it reminded me a lot of expedition. Very solid and I can't wait to age my bottles. A very well done imp stout. Worth a try.

 767 characters

Photo of DrBier
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Boone757
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,860 ratings.
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