Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Founders Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
96
world-class
1,845 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Reviews:
1,845
Ratings:
7,712
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
17.51%
 
 
Wants:
739
Gots:
2,414
For Trade:
151
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,845 | Ratings: 7,712
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.

 1,028 characters

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.

 816 characters

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.

 494 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 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.

 390 characters

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.

 838 characters

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.

 998 characters

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!

 241 characters

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.

 490 characters

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.

 539 characters

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

poured into a snifter,more or less black. nice almost brown head.smells like dark chocolate,coffee,black cherries,dark fruit.

taste is incredibly rich,some dark cherry flavor upfront,big coffee and dark chocolate flavors,somewhat sweet, follows through,finishes with some coffee like acridity. this beer has more coffee acridity than most other beers,but it is nice.

incredibly rich mouthfeel,just super thick.i almost have to scrape my tongue off after each sip.great beer.

 476 characters

Photo of digita7693
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A dark dark dark, nice dark brown head
pours thick like molasses

S bitter chocolate, coffee, malt

T delicious, like a nice stout on steroids... slight bitter chocolate, coffee, but nothing overwhelming, in a good way,

D carbonation could be a little higher, but this is a very smooth, very tasty imperial stout

Pretty much my go to IS when it is around, I really do not think it gets much better than this, so balanced and delicious.

 438 characters

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

Appearance is rich, almost-black. Light head, but it is a pretty, unique wood-brown. Some light lacing.

Nose is rich, dry coffee with milk chocolate and smooth malt.

Taste is rich and dense. There is plenty of roasted coffee, with very dark chocolate. There is also sweet cream and light cherry. It has a woodsy finish.

Mouthfeel is very dry, but also creamy. Carbonation is light. Alcohol warmth.

Overall, this is rich and dense with flavor. It is a fireside sipper, for sure, but is easy to drink from beginning to end.

 525 characters

Photo of Maestro
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This baby was a doozie. I really enjoyed the fact that the alcohol was so well blended with a perfect mix of malts and hops. None of the three overpowered. This one was quite dark, black actually. The beer had a roasted, chocolate nose with hints of sweet caramel malt. The taste was out of sight, with lots of chocolate, coffee coming through. The rich, syrupy mouthfeel was well accented with the perfect carbonation. Drinkability is good, especially considering the extreme alcohol. I would recommend this to any stout lover who wants to let their expectations become exceeded.

 580 characters

Photo of juhl31
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

-good and black with a nice brown colored thin head

-roast mixed with dark chocolate hit me right off the bat and stick around and chill for awhile

-wow! that is really good. i was expecting a good taste, but not as big and bold as this. a ton of dark chocolate flavor and the roast in the background. there is a hint of coffee grounds as well and some good malt sweetness. enough bitterness comes through to make it taste like dark chocolate over milk

-i am loving how thick this is. it leaves a big thick saliva feel in the back of the throat as well

-i am completely fine with drinking this beer. it's 10.5 yet doesnt blast your mouth out. i wish this was more accessible to me

 684 characters

Photo of jmerloni
3.87/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - jet black in color with nice big brown, creamy head that has very nice retention and laces very nicely on the glass.

S - chocolate, coffee, toffee, alcohol.

T - Follows the nose plus a little brown sugar. More alcoholic than I originally expected, thought the alcohol is detected on the nose. Finishes kind of like a scotch ale and it's a little weird. Not quite as smooth as it looked.

M - Creamy but a real hard alcoholic finish that's not too pleasant. Carbonation is unbalanced, however.

D - Not very drinkable. I'd have a hard time drinking two of these. Every sip is kind of a bitch going down. It's a good beer, but not great. Would be better at like 8% ABV instead of 10.5. Don't think I'd get it again when there so many other great imperials out there.

 770 characters

Photo of CooperEllis
3.89/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12oz into the DFH snifter.

Pour is deep and dark brown, with a rich chocolate head that leaves a mess of lacing across the brew and sides of the glass.

Very strong licorice aroma; some malt at the back but simply overpowered by the licorice.

Full rich flavor. I had this paired with dutch gouda and the flavors balanced nicely, the mouthfeel comes into play a good deal with the thickness of the stout allowing more of the complexity to be revealed as it takes longer for the liquid to clear the palate. Roast, licorice, coffee and malt.

Very thick but not syrupy. Good carbonation. Really spot on mouthfeel.

Aside from the abv being masked in the flavor and the nose by the stong licorice notes this is quite an easy (perhaps too easy) a drink.

(99th)

 758 characters

Photo of Bshaw22
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Drank this with about 11 months on it. I like this beer fresh but it is soooo smith with a little bit of age.
Chocolate on the nose with some burnt malt.
Followed suite with taste
Appearance is beautiful. Brown thick lacing.
Perfect version of the style.

 258 characters

Photo of Dubbercody
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into glass, medium head, strong brown color. Beer is dark brown/black and pours thick and heavy. Scent is malty, roasty, with chocolate tones. Scents develop as temps rise.

The first taste is something you cannot really prepare yourself for, you just go for it and let it tingle your whole mouth. Tastes of chocolate, caramel, malt and coffee swirl together to bring the whole mouth a treat.

It's a sipping beer, not a gulping beer! It drinks easier than it's 10%ABV would suggest, but will warm the belly and tickle the brainstem if a drinker isn't careful.

My first Founders and if this is any indication of the other brews, I'm going to have to order cases.

 679 characters

Photo of haddon
4.07/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

have really big looking forward to this beer. thanks to kaips1 for this one.

pours opaque with a tan head that doesn't hang around too long. good lacing down the tulip.

wow, this has some amazing notes going on. very well balanced with semi-sweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans & a sweet boozy note on the back end

bitter chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee bean. there are some bitter hop notes in the middle with a strong alcohol heat that lingers on the aftertaste. the beer is hot and burns a bit.

medium body that is a little dry and chalky. you would expect a bit more creamy feel with full body on a beer this big but its just not there.

highly anticipated this beer and it is a good but not great imperial stout. don't get me wrong, I will drink it again but it has a lot of hype and I was expecting more.

 818 characters

Photo of Samuel906
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really excited to try this. I have heard no end of great things about Founders stouts an d this certainly did not disappoint. Pours absolutely sheer jet black with one of the darkest brown heads Ive ever seen. head dissipates quickly leaving behind the viscous, oily brew. Rich creamy mocha greets you on the nose complemented by toasted malt, and chocolate covered cherries. Taste is a tidal wave of bittersweet chocolate up front with a mellow finish of earthy tobacco, and roasted coffee. Feel is thick and oily, coats every inch of your mouth. A bit sticky. but it comes with the territory. Definitely a slow sipper. Overall, one of the kings of the heavy stouts. Great in all aspects.

 689 characters

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

Poured into my cigar city snifter.

A- pours black in color. Held to the light I can make out some mohoghany hues. There is little to no head to speak of. Very little lacing.

A- big malt profile followed by hints of dark fruit, molassess and licorice.

T- nicley balanced between the malts and the hops, but I was kind of surprised that there was as much hops present as there was. Dark chocolate and licorice also play a small row in this beer

M- nice and thick.again, a little suprised by the bitter finish, but I'm very happy with the thickness. It's thick like month thick.

D- pretty good. I'd def have a couple more without a problem.

 647 characters

Photo of frazbri
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Founders Imperial Stout poured jet black with a creamy, mocha head. Chocolate, coffee, and slight floral scent were present in the nose. Espresso, charcoal and pepper flavors were accompanied by a solid bitterness. The body was thick and viscous with a moderate level of carbonation and a warm finish, but not a burn.

Oh mama! This a great beer to drink by the fireplace. I will definitely buy this again. It's also a good canidate for the cellar, if you have the patience.

 476 characters

Photo of Cavery
3.77/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An extra from Chambic (cheers!). Bottle looks old, label peeling with noticeable signs of age. I can't quite read what looks like date print. Not sure on the year of this brew.

Poured into Over-Sized wine glass, shared with Klym.

Review from notes, offering had the prior weekend.

Black coffees, little head formation, light watery brown bubbles. Actually quite flat with an aggressive pour, a bit troubling. Looks like decaf. Looks like a bottomless pit, looks like it's time to take the dive. 

Creamy exotic blend coffees, a Swiss chocolate note that's intriguing. Raw creams and French vanillas. This is a solid smelling beer. A solid foundation of a nose. Strange salty ketchup in pockets. A little bit inconsistent after multiple sniffs. For the most part quite good though.

Geez, unexpected manly ashtrays with raw charcoal bitter bland harshness. A decent cutting note if licorice anise and tobacco leaf. Thin leathers that share tastes with dried jerkys. Interesting, and not bad. Though the ash rides all the other flavors a bit heavily.

An artisans medium mouth-feel that combines tobacco leaves with salty leathers. I think if the mouth was more full you wouldn't get nearly as much salt or tobacco. I appreciate the fine line this beer walks, and the mouth-feel allows for a more adventurous flavor spectrum in style.

Very good, with flare for unusual flavors. More tobacco less roast. Coffees wait behind licorice and dark bitter roots. Interesting and compelling. Though the drinkabilty suffers a bit too much for me. This a smoker's beer. Would be curious to try different vintages. I don't quite have an solid opinion on this one yet.

 1,661 characters

Photo of 2378GCGTG
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Apperance: True deep black body under a 1 inch copper/brown head which retains well and clings to the glass for what seems like eternity.

Nose: Chocolate, coffee, black toast and burnt roasted malt.

Taste: Roasted and burnt malts with an excellent chocolate support and a slightly bitter coffee taste all of which fade into a smokey finish

Mouthfeel: Flows like molasses in winter time, it's thick and extremely present, almost heavy, on the palate as it rolls around. This is a truely excellent body.

Overall: A truly excellent RIS, and amazing for the price, not truly perfect because I would like to see a bit more sweetness and a bit less smoke in the taste.

 666 characters

Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,712 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe