Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders Imperial StoutFounders Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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: 1,837 | Ratings: 7,637
Photo of olmatty
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Wow! This beer pours like very used motor oil with a low light brown head. Good lacing and decent retention.

Smell- Roasty malts, dark coffee and a bit creamy

Taste- rich,thick coffee, sweet molasses, raisins, a bit of dark chocolate, some bitter hops

Mouthfeel- Thick as the aforementioned 10 w 40.

Drinkability- High ABV and huge flavor and still pretty smooth and drinkable. But if you try to knock down a bunch of these you'll end up crocked.

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Photo of PlinyBeMiney
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is my second time trying this beer. A lot of imperial stouts try hard to be balanced an master the style, but few succeed. The midnight color and tan fizzy head personify this classic style. Carbonation is nice and dances everytime I swirl the glass. Smell is somewhat muted. Dark and roasty malts, but nothing really pops out. The taste is what sets this beer apart. There is a lightly roasted mocha caramel blend that would be an awesome Starbucks flavor if it could be implemented. The roast is subtle, not overcome by coffee like our KBS cousin. The acidity is lax as well which exemplifies the creaminess of its texture. I'm drinking this on a highly humid night where it's more that 75 degrees outside and enjoying the heck out of this beer. Stouts aren't just for warming you up, especially if they are as well crafted as this one.

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Photo of CurtFromHershey
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours like frothy motor oil. Pitch black with brown edges when held to light. Funky, beige head which subsides surprisingly quickly for how dense it starts.

Smell is mildly roasty with hints of mocha. Surprising dark fruit undertones. Pleasant.

Taste is more toffee and burnt molasses than the nose would lead on. Bitter, nondescript hop presence. Good flavor, but I think a bit of age would help as the hops detract from the flavors in this case. No booziness detected.

Mouthfeel is thick and lush. No complaints other than maybe slightly too carbonated.

Overall a fantastic beer which I will seek out again.

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Photo of gameface23
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: It looked like I poured motor oil into my glass - it "glugged" from the bottle in a similar manner. Completely opaque black. Not much of a head, but what is there is as dark as any head I've ever seen.

S: Chocolate, slight hops, dark fruit, and must.

T: Roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, and a slight alcohol burn.

M: "Viscous as shit" comes to mind. I seriously think if one of the trucks that are used to distribute this ever broke down on the highway, they could pour a bottle of this into it instead of oil and be on their merry way. I had to look in the mirror to see if it was still coating my teeth.

D: For a 10.5% beer, this thing is a champ.

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Photo of deejaydan
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice Impy stout from Founders. Pours thick and viscous, like Motor Oil. Minimal head and lacing. Dark as night. Smells collide of sweet yet roasted malts and alcohol. Taste and mouthfeel come together. This is tastes as thick as it pours. The Alcohol is present in the taste, and there's not a ton extra, other than the roasted malts playing along. It's a solid example of the style, but not quite nailing it for me.

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Photo of TheJollyHop
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12/15/2014 poured into a TeKu glass:

L: Foam consists of a chocolate brown roux-like hue on top of an opaque, black body. Benchmark appearance that maintains a head that's indicative of the gravity of this brew.
S: Whiffs of plastic along with grass clippings (both usual indications in my experience of a beer that will benefit from extended bottle cellaring), earthy chocolate, and alcohol,
T: Grassy hop notes upfront, long cooking chocolate/bitter finish with notes of dried tobacco leaves and smoke. Alcohol warmth attacks mid sip and doesn't let go. Balance slanting towards bitterness at this time, which is to be expected with little more than a month in the bottle.
F: Velvety texture and full body that leaves a slick coating on the tongue.
O: On my top five list of non-barrel aged, commercially available, imperial stouts.

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Photo of zoolzoo
3.55/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage

A: Inky black, coffee bean head.

S: Roasted malt, coffee, smoke, dark chocolate.

T: Dark chocolate and charred flavors at play with a little hop zing. Pure cocoa and black coffee in the finish with woody tannins, very bitter, a notable lack of sweetness. Mostly roasted characteristics.

M: Creamy, well carbed but not over carbed. The flavor profile does not call for "motor oil" as a descriptor, not enough residual sugars.

D: Good beer, but one and done.

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Photo of adamdarcy
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After coveting this for so long...Finally I found it at a local store (Park Place Liquor in Grosse Point, MI!)

Delightful! Too drinkable for the ABV...I could guzzle these things! Not that there's not some slight hop presence and carbonation, but not too much. Really just balanced so great.

The only small drawback for me was the mouthfeel. It was like a protein powder that I tried to stir by hand into a glass of milk, and the powder just hadn't blended in completely. But the roasty, coffee, dark chocolate smell, with the commensurate taste outdid the "grainy" mouthfeel by a mile.

Seek this out and try some!!

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

APPEARANCE: Jet black. 2 fingers of dark tan creamy head that lasts, leaves slight lacing down the glass.
AROMA: Cocoa Malt-o-Meal, Coke, tobacco, dark chocolate, sourdough bread crust, earthy, a little alcohol. Leather. A trace of coffee.
TASTE: Big dark and bittersweet chocolate. Big bitter bite up front. A little alcohol. Dark crusty bread, sourdough bread. A sweetness in the background, cola like.
FEEL: Creamy up front, carbonation very mild, medium full body, dry on finish.
OVERALL: Very nice RIS. I'm not getting the soy sauce quality I get from a lot of beers like this, which to me, is a plus. Big dark chocolate, lots of bitterness that builds throughout the whole beer.

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

12oz into a Founders Tulip. Bottled 11/20/09.

Pours dark as night with a half finger mocha head. Looks decadent.

Big and roasty nose. Lots of dark chocolate. Smells delicious.

Taste is just as big as the nose. Huge dark chocolate notes take center stage. A touch of heat on the finish.

Rich and velvety. Dead on.

This is a wonderful RIS. It fits right in with Founders stellar stout lineup.

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Photo of zoober911
4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L - Pours black as night. Looks smooth and thick. Half a finger of brown head. Nice lacing when swirled. Coats the glass not quite like cough syrup, but any more and you would think it was. Head falls back into the glass and leaves a ring of tiny bubbles dancing the edge of the glass.

S - Smells of chocolate. Roasted coffee. And more chocolate, caramel. Some alcohol but barely discernible.

T - Taste is on the same field as the nose. Chocolate, caramel, roasted coffee. Very delightful.

F - Smooooth. Silky. Creamy. Thicker feel that coats your mouth nicely. Very desirable.

O - Overall this is one of the better stouts available on the shelf that isn't limited release or difficult to find. A great representation of the style and a must have for the uninitiated. Easily a go-to stout for anyone.

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Photo of Thur123
3.86/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is dark coffee black and about 99% opaque. Very little head from a generous pour. Looks heavy. The smell is cocoa with robust malts, a bit of molasses and an edge of something sweet like cream. The hops show up as a slight but balancing bitterness.

Glug glug glug

A big roasted malt flavor with notes of bitter chocolate, mellow cocoa, smoke, there's also a charred taste too. The hops show up much bigger in the taste with a significant bitter herbal hop edge showing up in the middle of the flavor and riding through the after taste. The mouth feel is thick and very heavy. This is good but has too much of a hop flavor to shine as a really tasty stout to me...Not quite complex enough in the malt.A very well made beer but not my favourite stout by any means.

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Photo of dleigh
4.97/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the platonic ideal of an imperial stout. Jet black with dark brown head. Waves of chocolaty, roasty, molasses creamy malt. Some anisy hops. A little sweet but not too much. Rich on the tongue.

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

The people at Founders know something about stouts that the rest of us dont... This one pours a viscous brown/black, only brown when light passes through it, with a very thing dark brown head which settles quickly. Beautiful. Smells quite chocolaty but with no espresso presence really like breakfast stout, a bit of hop is in there for blance. The taste is very dark chocolaty, especially in the aftertaste.. A bit of burnt bread in there as well.. Some caramel-like cola flavor. Its very smooth and has a really good amount of balance (though certainly not hoppy) and it gets AMAZING once it settles around cellar to room temp. The mouth is viscous and thick, coating the mouth with a sweet, dark taste AND feeling which is close to perfect. Carbonation is subtle but present, more noticeable immediately on the tip of the tongue then fades.
Its very smooth and just great.. I really had to search for reasons NOT to give it an A+ (as amazing as it is, Ive had Canadian breakfast stout and that is certainly their crown jewel.

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Photo of foogerd
4.16/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours like an oil spill, slick and slippery out of the bottle. Black as night, a head is produced that has this gorgeous deep dark coffee color, sexiest head I've ever seen. A real looker of a brew.

S- Smoked anise, lots of roast character, dark cacao chocolate, a creamy lactose aroma wafts over. A bit of sharp bitter booze.

T- Totally an anise/black licorice bomb, with dark chocolate and burnt bitter coffee taste at the finish, packaged in a tasty very drinkable format.

M- Very smooth slick body, low carbonation but very appropiate.

D- A foward in your face Russian Imperial Stout that goes down with ease. Whats unique here is that this brew is big all around, in flavor and abv, yet its drinkability gives you the ability to enjoy all its robustness. Would pair excellently with a creamy rich desert.

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Photo of CMUbrew
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Deepest black in color with a very dark brown head forming briefly. Looks quite viscous pouring into the glass.

S: Plenty of roast-char aroma, dark malt, and slight dark fruit aroma.

T: Darkly roasted malt with a nice charred edge. Solid bitterness that blots out any possible sweetness. Little to no alcohol is noticeable initially.

M: Thick, silky, and smooth to an extreme degree. Nearly perfect feel on this.

O: The best non-BA stout I've had, and likely one of the best out there.

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Photo of CIBoy10
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look - pours a velvet black with a thin dark brown head that yields quickly to lacing.

Smell - chocolate, Irish car bomb, tobacco, black pepper, coffee liqueur.

Taste - chocolate, coffee, earthy, beef jerky and tobacco on the finish. Very complex.

Feel - silky smooth, creamy, heavy. Smoother as it warms up.

Overall - top notch imperial stout especially when it warms up a little.

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Photo of ARoman
4.19/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

*transferred from previous notes 1/21/2014*
On tap into a tulip glass. A dark fruit and sweet chocolate aroma with a background ashy trace greet the nose. As it warms, the chocolate smell turns to caramel and a light cookie dough smell appears. There might also be an earthy and/or barnyard note in there, but I couldn’t lock onto it. There’s a very thin mocha brown head that dissipates quickly and leaves nearly no lacing. The beer itself is a very dark, near opaque black-brown. It’s mostly chocolate syrup sweet with some minor smokey/oaky bitterness. A resin (grainy) and ashy coffee and chocolate flavor hit the tongue first for this medium-full bodied beer. The sticky and oily texture doesn’t have much carbonation to it (mainly flat) and it leaves behind a mild ashy smokey finish although pretty clean for the most part.

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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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Photo of TTAmod
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: When pouring, it's very, very dark brown. Once it was all in the glass, it was pitch black. Even when held to the light, nothing shoes through.

Head is two-finger chocolate milk colored with ruby hues. Retention is really damn good.

S: Deep waft brings heavy bitter chocolate, a bit of coffee (but not as much as Breakfast Stout,) roasty malts, dark fruits, bit of hops, and a touch of alcohol.

T: Starts off with subdued roasted malts. Picks up steam midway with some dark fruit (plum) flavors. This beer finishes really damn good. There is coffee, hops, and bitter chocolate. Leaves a lingering, mocha aftertaste with a bit of an alcohol burn.

M: Honestly more carbonation than I'd like. The body is creamy and heavy, which is good for the style, but I feel that the carbonation takes away from the taste a bit.

O: A good RIS. The taste is nice and complex. The mouthfeel is a little bit off for me, but everything else is a prime example of a great RIS.

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Photo of classixIII
4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Great RIS! Thick, black pour, short deep brown head that didn't stay very long. Chocolate, coffee aroma. Big taste, anise, more chocolate and coffee, a tad on the sweet side but the bitterness kicks in with some alcohol at the end. Get some!

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Photo of SHDoyle
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Description: Pours black as black can be. Inky, with no light coming through. Looks thick and creamy as it comes out of the bottle, almost like milk but, as mentioned, black. Smell was a little faint, with roasty notes and dark fruit. As it warmed there seemed to be some earthy, wood scent. Taste is mostly dark fruit, dark chocolate and roastiness. Small but noticeable amount of bitterness on the finish. Feel is a bit thinner than expected, more 'creamy' than 'syrupy'...if that makes any sense. More carbonation than normal for a RIS.

Suggested food pairing: Peanut butter brownies

If you like this beer then you should also try: Bell's 30th Anniversary

Overall: 4.25 (This beer is good and I would likely drink it again) Pretty strong all around although no real "WOW" factor. Would probably be pretty fantastic aged in bourbon barrels. Would make a good sipping beer on a cold night.

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Photo of Jesstyr
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Duvel tulip with a ribeye.

Pours pitch black with dark brown hues. Head is dark brown, almost firm in its appearance. A full finger, which lingers well throughout the drink. Nose is heavy in chocolate, coffee and alcohol - heavily roasted. This is a stout.

There is no question that this is a good tasting beer, but its roast outweighs its breadth. I miss the vanilla that others speak of. This beer has a roast and hop character that is quite deep. Full bodied, a true stout.

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Photo of zshaft
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this stuff is black as black can be. nice one finger head that dissipates rather quickly. smells like some chocholate and licorace with some burnt malt notes. mouthfeel is nice and silky with medium body. taste is up front burnt charcoal with nice roasty flavors giving way to a surprising hop bitterness at the end with alcohol noted and very end palate dark malt and chocolate subtilities. this beer is a great russian stout and delivers in spades. I get some nice fruity end palate that makes this beer so great and I get some every year. a must buy for any beer lover. fOunders rules!

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Photo of cbros
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving type- 12 ounce bottle poured into a Surly pint glass.

Pours a jet black with a tan head that disipates quickly. There is no visible carbonation and no cling after the pour. Good Russian Imperial Stout but does not have any qualities that might seperate it from the others. This is my second offering from Founders and I can sense a theme going on, that being of a solid brew that doesn't exactly who you but does bring a good solid beer to the table. I enjoyed this beer but would probably pass it up for other RIS's if available.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 1,837 ratings.
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