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 | 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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,839
Ratings:
7,654
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
17.28%
 
 
Wants:
728
Gots:
2,387
For Trade:
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Reviews: 1,839 | Ratings: 7,654
Photo of schwaeh
3.85/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 bottling.

A: Pours totally pitch black with 1/4" of brown head that fades into a thin ring. Lots of sediment.

S: The stand outs are hops, roasted malts, and espresso. Dark chocolate, yeast, and cocoa come out as well. This still smells bitter ~5 months out.

T: Yes, still very bitter. Hops, charred malt, and espresso are still leading this several months after bottling. Bakers chocolate and some yeast are present, must be those floaties. The alcohol is present but blended into the flavor well enough.

M: Thick and somewhat grainy. Coats the mouth and leaves a lingering bitterness.

O: I remember my jaw hitting the floor when I first tried this last winter. I think I may have gotten pickier or maybe its the weather, but I think the bitterness is slightly over-the-top. I do like hops and espresso so I can enjoy this, but this may be a little harsh for many people. All in all a solid RIS that I look forward to trying at a far advanced age, much like Storm King.

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Photo of Shroud0fdoom
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

*12 oz. Bottle*

Look: Black body, 1 1/2 finger deep mocha frothy head.

Smell: Huge roasted barley, nice toffee sweetness, espresso hints of oats.

Taste: Burnt coffee, sweet roasted malts, smooth chocolate, bittersweet finish, alcohol is not present in the flavor but you can feel the heat.

Feel: Almost syrupy smooth body, soft carbonation.

Overall: For this being at 10.5%, it is incredibly drinkable to the point that it should be illegal. Smooth body, balanced between bitter and sweet that aches for constant gulps. This is a prime example of what a great Imperial Stout should be. Highly recommended.

* Originally Reviewed on 7-11-2013

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Photo of rodney45
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Completely opaque. Espresso colored small head that with a 10.5 abv, im really impressed by how long it stays around. Not big, even with a vigorous pour. Very representative of the style.

S: Burnt toffee, espresso, semi sweet chocolate, and crystal malt.

T: First notes are huge bitter espresso flavors, with cacao, and kaluha. Secondary flavors are of a hodgepodge of multiple different malts, dense and indiscernible. Third flavor profile is of English style porter hops, with a very american/west coast style yeast character.

M: This beer is as thick as old used motor oil. Imagine 5 shots of espresso left to sit and evaporate for a week, this beer is as thick as the remainder of what would be left. Low carbonation, very bitter (more from the coffee than the hops), low alcohol ethers, very heavy, and more or less dry towards the finish.

O: Wow, this beer blew me away. Very reminiscent of the breakfast stout, except on steroids. Again, great fare from founders. Have not been disappointing by even one of their beers. Keep it coming.

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Photo of NCBeernut
4.87/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Really really black with a big ass creamy 3 finger head - this is the darkest brown head I have ever seen on any beer. It falls to a nice thick layer of foam.

Espresso and cream with a heavy dusting of hop oils turns to a rich chocolate aroma with hints of vanilla and anise. Enough alcohol in the nose to let you know its there. I hope this tastes as good as it smells.

Oaky earthiness - very woody. Plenty of resinous hop oils similar to Storm King only more subdued - not overpowering. Nice roasted barley flavors meld with hints of chocolaty espresso. Words don't do it justice. Ultra smooth and creamy - so chewy and desert-like. Alcohol is dangerously hidden, but still leaves a nice warm feeling.

Just about a perfect RIS. Best I have ever had.

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

Nabbed this bottle from DLD and am ready to indulge, thanks to ThomasHardy.

A: Pours nice and silky. An aggressive pour yielded a small 0.5cm head. Nice coffee saliva-like froth. Lacing persists through what I have drank so far.

S: Coffee, molasses, malts, chocolate, and love.

T: Much better than anticipated, like the breakfast stout with less coffee like bitterness. Up front coffee and malts, followed by sweetness, and a dry mildly bitter finish with chocolate goodness left on the tongue. ABV becomes hidden in this guy or maybe I have just been drinking too many big beers?

M: Silky smooth, vicious, perhaps the beers best quality.

D: Regret that I only traded for one bottle, but it's a great single taste. Will have to search out when more trading or when founders is available in Minneapolis.

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Photo of 1up
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Spiegelau tulip from a 12oz bottle.

A- Opaque dark brownish black. No light gets through. A vigorous pour yields a 1.5 finger head. Looks like motor oil which indicates a lot of flavor to come.
S- Aroma isn't too powerful but I can detect lots of roasted malt and dark chocolate.
T- Coffee, heavily roasted malt, and chocolate dominate the flavor profile at first followed by an extremely bitter finish. Make no mistake, this is one of the most bitter finishing dark beers I've ever had. No alcohol taste which is impressive for a 10% beer. Very smooth.
M- Extremely smooth mouthful, full bodied, and perfect amount of carbonation. Not as full bodied as Ten Fidy but also not terribly far off. Carbonation consists of small bubbles that complement the brew and blend in well rather than standing out.
O- Wow this is an excellent flavorful imperial stout, one of the best I've had.

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Photo of lou91
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

All imperial stout lovers should witness this pour – dark as night and even though it looked like it was going to pour still, a thick dark creamy head came throught and it was there to stay. The nose also makes you say God Damn! It smells like you walked into a chocolate coffee factory. Wow this is a damn good IS. It is so good that it took me an hour to drink 12oz. Thick, bittersweet and with enough alcohol to remind you that beer is good. Today I am an initiate and my mug is back. Thank you founders and buckeye nation.
.

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Photo of iconoklaztor
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to sprinkle for hooking me up.

Pours a nice black with a head that quickly went away. This is a nice find. Ive wanted to try it and have never seen it on the shelfs. IDK whats the story on this brew?

The taste is nice and firm with dry coffee and a creamy milkyness Ive only seen in oatmeal stouts. This is like a creamy and strong oatmeal stout. I like it

Overall, I would love to get more of this if I can. Ive never seen it hit shelves but believe me if I do I will get tons!

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

L - Dark brown/black pour with a thick tan head. Great, thick lacing get throughout.
S - Smell of chocolate the entire way through.
F - Nice and smooth.
T - Wow. Followed the smell all the way.
O - What a tasteful beer. Really enjoyable beer.

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

A: The motor oil comparison is bit cliche, but this thing really is viscous pouring into the glass. It just looks really thick. Black as black can be. With a dark brown finger's worth of head.

S: Burnt malts, dark chocolate, soy sauce. There are some serious roasted aromas going on here. Intense.

T/M: That thickness on pouring is now absolutely coating my mouth. This is dense. Massive burnt malt flavors. Chocolate and soy sauce there as well. Bitterness on the finish is prominent. This one is a little too thick for my tastes. It's as full bodied as full bodied gets. I'd actually prefer a 6oz bottle of this and wish I opened this with a friend.

D: Doesn't score high on drinkability in my view. I'm having trouble putting an entire glass down, not because it doesn't taste good but because of the huge, intense mouthfeel.

Overall, very tasty, but the intensity of flavors isn't offset by a lighter body that I think would have improved things overall. For instance, I had an easier time putting a Dark Lord down than this--that should say something.

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Photo of shangwang
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 12/07/12. Poured into a Dogfish snifter.

The first characteristic of this beer that really stood out was how viscous the body was as I poured it. Initially I was left with a full thick finger of cocoa head, which reduced to a thin layer leaving scant lacing after a few minutes. The smell was fantastic and rich; baker's chocolate, vanilla, and charred wood stood out with hints of anise. Lots of dark, roasty malt in the taste with a very subtly sweet finish. Very bold, like cold French roast coffee. Mouthfeel is on the heavy side, and very smooth. Fits the beer well.
Great beer to sip at, although it's so good you'll want to have a few. Very satisfying.

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

12 fluid ounces of black gold...texas tea. Small milk chocolate head that fades quickly to form a ring around the outside of the glass. A shimmer of ruby around the edges when held to the light. Looks pretty wonderful. Classy looking bottle too.

Dark chocolate, roasted malt, and the faintest hint of cinnamon, interestingly enough. Definitely a fair amount of alcohol coming through in the nose as well. Faint hints of fruity hops as it warms.

A ton of hop bitterness in this one initially that fades to the typical RIS flavors. Chocolate, roasted malt, and dark fruits are all present and very balanced. No sign of the alcohol that was fierce in the aroma.

Carbonation and body are spot on. Not too thick, but thick enough to coat every surface in your mouth.

Dangerously easy to drink this beast as well.

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Photo of ncketchum
4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Update from original review on 4-20-2011

Served at cellar temp in a Duvel tulip

A - Pours a motor oil black with 3 fingers dark chocolate head, 1 of which lingers for some time with thick lacing.

S - Smells of chocolate and roasted malt with a hint of alcohol at the end.

T - this is almost like chocolate milk with hops - sweet, chocolate with a bitterness at the end, hints of roasted malt. Not too sweet (less sweet than CBS)

M - mouthfeel is thick, chewy, little carbonation, good amount of alcohol burn at the end

D - what a phenomenal stout. I'm not sure if it is this year's batch or my palate has changed since I last reviewed this one. I definitely need to do a horizontal tasting with FBS, KBS, and maybe break out my bottle of CBS to look at the nuances that make each one unique.

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

Deep black with dark mocha head. Elegant lacing.
Dark chocolate, roasty malt, very light espresso.
Roasted espresso bitterness, rich chocolate.
Rich heavy mouthfeel.
Very nice winter brew....glad us Californians are included in Founder's distribution.

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

Looking forward to this for quite some time...Another solid beer from the company!

Pours a midnight black, bitter sweet malty nose.
Tastes of bittersweet chocolate, and malts. Mouthfeel is rich and decadent... Stellar beer!!

I have to say, I do prefer the Breakfast Stout, but that's only because I love coffee notes in my porters/stouts.

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Photo of weizenbob
4.84/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Today I'm whetting my whistle with a Founders Imperial Stout and Breakfast Stout whilst I wait patiently for next month's KBS release. This 12 ounce bottle of Imperial Stout was purchased at Pere Marquette Expeditions in Ludington, MI. Founders bottle dates in black ink which is literally impossible to locate on a stout, yet alone read. After the pour, the empty bottle revealed the date to be unintelligible as the ink had been smeared. No worries; I know it's this year's batch.

I poured this into a wine goblet. An aggressive pour yields about half a finger of straight up brown head. The pour is thick and nearly resembles chocolate syrup coming out of the bottle. Head retention is poor but at 10.5% abv I'm not surprised. As far as the color, it is expected that an imperial stout would be near-black, but nary have I seen as dark a stout as this. If I were to christen this shade of black, I would call it "Smell the Glove".

Speaking of the smell, it is pretty awesome, and not the least bit glove-like. Chocolate is huge in the nose. Alcohol is not far behind. The aroma is akin to a chocolate liqueur. There is no subtle this or hint of that. It's just chocolate cranked to 11.

This is smokin' hot on the tongue. The chocolate strikes first, and it is very sweet and syrupy; but its reign is brief. The alcohol smashes its way to the surface like the Incredible Hulk; and this beer is angry! After the alcohol kicks me in the teeth I start to notice the chocolate syrup again, as well as a hint of coffee. There's a nice bite of bitter hops on the finish, which although noticeable, pales in comparison to the chocolaty sweetness and alcohol. How this doesn't come off as boozy is far beyond my comprehension.

This stout is heavy duty in the mouth. It is thick and syrupy and basically everything that you dream a stout should feel like. The carbonation feels mild though I can see small patches of active bubbling on the surface. It's just a heavy beer. The thickness coats the throat on the way down the hatch, leaving surprisingly little alcohol burn in its wake. This is awesome.

The drinkability is superb. As hard hitting as the alcohol is, this is very thick, very smooth and very sweet. The mildly bitter finish reminds you that it's a beer, and if it weren't for the prominent alcohol bite this would receive a perfect drinkability score. It is an amazing sipper of a brew, and if there was ever a candidate for some cellaring experimentation it's this beast. Per usual with Founder's stouts, I will take this four-pack, drink a couple now and stash a couple away for next year. After this alcohol cools off I'm expecting the most velvety chocolaty treat that you can find in bottled form.

For what it's worth, I prefer this to Breakfast Stout. Bring on the KBS!

---

The Two-Schlitz Scale™: (see my profile for an explanation)
Puny lager cannot hurt Imperial Stout! Imperial Stout smash!

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Photo of bbtkd
3.92/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Founders Imperial Stout, ABV 10.5%, IBU 75. Brown head, very dark, pours thick. Nose is coffee and alcohol. As far as taste, hard to get by the espresso bitterness and taste much else. Not my favorite, but those who don't mind bitter will like it. It does improve as it warms. Or maybe as I warm...

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Photo of BeerFink
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with no hint of light passing through. A thin dark brown head makes an appearance, and hangs around til the end. Aroma of bitter bakers chocolate and alochol. Taste is very big. Starts off creamy and smooth, then quickly moves to a short lived acrid charcoal flavor brought on by black patent. Moving on to rich chocolate and coffee flavors. From there we find some warming alcohol enhanced by citrous hops. Thick and full mouthfeel marked by alcohol that burns the mouth slightly. Finish is dry and roasted with a very slight smokiness. Good offering from Founders, whom I have come to respect.

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

A- This is a very heavy beer. By that I mean it feels like it weighs alot in the glass. Pours a very thick pitch black. Dark tan head with lacing that holds the side of glass very nicely. Has the look of used motor oil it's so dark. Light will not get through this one.

S- Smokey caramel, coffee and dark fruit from this one. Has a touch of sweet scents wafting from it too.

T- Caramel and chocolate. Slight hint of smokey bitters to it as well. At over 90 IBUs that is to be expected. Swirling it in the glass intensified the caramel and chocolate flavor while actually reducing the bitterness on the finish. Finish was pleasant that lasted for quite a bit.

M- Thick and creamy but smooth.

O- I am not a huge stout fan but I would drink this again... That is if there was nothing else to drink and this was all I could get. Still better than others I have tried.

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Photo of SethB2
4.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Tulip.

A - Pours a deep, thick black color with fairly small, mocha colored head.

S - Booze soaked brownies combine with overripe dark fruits and a bit of coffee. Fairly sweet overall on the nose.

T - Bready, roasted malt qualities up front, followed by a big coffee blast. Not much for hops, but there are there to keep this from getting too sweet. Very nice.

M - Full as can be, thick and creamy. Very smooth for a beer at 10%.

D - This is a pretty big beer, but I wouldn't have a problem drinking a few of these.

Thanks to Jeff Krenner (I think) for the sample. Either that or thefatkid13. I can't remember where I got this thing.

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

Poured on-tap at TJs

Jet black pour, with a chocolate colored head that bubbled and hung about - small amounts of lace formed in a ring around the glass

Nose is powerful, lots of malt and roast, coffee comes fast and hard, than disapates some when allowed to open a bit. The alcohol is present, as is chocolate and more malt. A molasses like sugar aroma hints about.

Rich, robust and deep flavor - well roasted malts are apparent right off the mark, coffee, chocolate, and some raisin and plum at the back.

Bitter finish, with oak, roasted coffee, and bitter chocolate

This is a huge beer, super rich and chewy, mild carbonation, creamy with a wonderful roasted malt persistence. A great representative of the style and as a stand-alone beer.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle.

A - Black in color with a rich, fluffy, malted milk, tan head that recedes rather quickly leaving an incredible lacing on the glass.

S - Roasted notes, coffee, dark chocolate maybe some carmel.

T - Rich, roasted coffee and sweet chocolate with a nice layer of hops that weaves its way through. Dry finish, kind of like the cocoa powder topping of a Tiramisu.

M - Very creamy, light carbonation, medium bodied, coats your mouth goodness.

O - Really like this brew, drinking it on a cold snowy day with a bad headcold, tastes great

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Photo of The_Snow_Bird
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

The look is what I dream about, perfect pitch black like used motor oil. Very dark caramel color head. Has a roasted coffee smell along with some dark chocolate. Very thick with a roasted taste.

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Photo of kmcnair
3.7/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aroma - Very rich and complex, roasted chocolate malts, a bit of burnt caramel, black licorice, coffee.

Appearance - Pours a blackened crimson color, opaque and wears a deep tanned crown of tightly packed bubbles that fades into a fine ring. Low head retention. Quite viscous and visible legs stream down the glass.

Flavor - Rich, dark chocolate and burnt malt flavors dominate. Hints of coffee and burnt tarred caramel linger in the background. Some figgy dark fruit-like esters.

Mouthfeel - Creamy and velvety, medium to light in carbonation. Full bodied.

Overall - this is a good beer. Has many fantastic qualities with no faults. It is not my favorite for the style, but it is certainly a strong representative. I would try it again sometime for sure.

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

Decided to pour my first 2009 vintage tonight.

Pours a very dark brown into my Surly snifter. Moderate head that clings creamily to the class.

The smell is very milky and smooth. The hops are very mild, even with minimal agings. That said, there is still a bit of an edge that could stand to be mellowed with a year or so of aging. The malts are very smooth and silky, like a milk stout. I usually don't like milk stouts because the ones I've had have been watery, but this one is nice and full but keeps the creaminess of a milk stout.

Recommended.

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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,654 ratings.
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