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
Reviews:
1,879
Ratings:
7,813
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
8.53%
 
 
Wants:
744
Gots:
2,451
For Trade:
149
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,879 | Ratings: 7,813
Photo of nickadams2
4.73/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A_Pitch black with a thick dark brown head that quickly dissipates. Thick lacing.

S_Smells roasty with chocolate,espresso,and alcohol.

T_Roasted malt and dark fruits up front. Bitter dark chocolate and espresso round it out. Very tasty. Alcohol very well hidden with a gentle warming effect.

M_Very thick and very,very cream. Usually dont get too worked up about mouthfeel but this is great.

D_Buy a case.

 409 characters

Photo of KomodoDragon
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - A violent poor produced a subtle butterscotch head that grew and grew to 1 inch with outstanding lacing.

S - Earthy, chocolate

T - Here is a case where the taste do not seem to follow the smell - to me. roasted vanilla espresso, fig, black malt, hint of sweetness and sugar cane. some sourness in the finish. Alcohol intensifies the flavor rather than overshadowing it. Hoppy finish reminiscent of a black ipa.

M- some creaminess, but also a bit too fizzy for me.

A lot going on here, and wonderful to sip. It'll warm you on a cold night. Solid entry in a favored category.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.94/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Look:
Pours like motor oil (thick and syrupy). Pitch black with no light shining through. A bit low on carbonation (only about a 1 finger head).

Smell:
Smells of chocolate and caramel with slight smokey coffee scent. Smells like a decadent dessert!

Taste:
There is a huge bitter bite of hops at first, but is quickly diminished by strong smoked malt, chocolate, caramel, and coffee. There is a slight sourness at the beginning, but then the sweet syrupy flavors quickly flow in. As the flavors start to fade, smokiness remains and the beer finishes a bit dry.

Feel:
Very thick and full bodied. Feels quite thick and oily/syrupy. Slight dry feel at finish.

Overall:
This is an awesome brew. I am impressed with how flavorful and full the beer is. It also packs quite a punch at 10.5%. I would highly recommend this one, but don't down one of these on a full stomach as it is almost a meal on its own.

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Photo of garbercury
4.01/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A--Deep dark mahogany with killer amber red head and tons of lacing, beautiful, scores a perfect 5.

S--Coffee is strong on this one, bit of licorice.

T--This is a strong beer taste wise, coffee and hoppy finish dominate. Flavor is heavy duty, dark malts with a hoppy back end that really hits hard.

M--Fantastic, smooth and silky, milkshake like.

D--Heavy and hot, needs time. This is a beer that will benefit greatly by aging...

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Photo of jmvecchio1
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Imperial Stout pours out a dark black off the pour - no light is getting through this beer. A chocolate colored head develops and sits on top like a cap until it eventually fades out into some lacing. A mixture of bitter chocolate and roasted coffee greet you on the aroma with some sweetness on the finish. Alcohol takes the front seat on the first few sips, but fades out and allows the beer’s complex flavors to shine through. Hops hit up front, but are balanced nicely with roasted malts that are truly the backbone holding each flavor together. Chocolate and coffee notes are present, but not overwhelming. The alcohol slowly warms with each sip you take.

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Photo of adman08
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a very very dark brown, almost black, with a fairly small amount of brown haed that leaves some decent lacing.
S-Aromas of dark, bitter chocolate with some coffee. A very slight hint of smoke with a little molasses.
T-Strong flavors of coffee and dark unsweetened chocolate. Lots of roasted malt but there is some sweetness to balance things out. There is a hint of smoke flavor. Very complex.
M-Very full bodied and a little on the sweet side overall. Light carbonation.
Overall, a great imperial stout. Good balance of sweetness and roasted malt bitterness. Very complex flavor with the roasted/dark chocolate flavor along wiht the sweetness. Really a great beer.

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Photo of mtlasley
3.33/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- A thick, viscous elixir pours from the bottle and fills the glass like velvet. It's pitch black light a moonless night in the forest. Sinful is a word that comes to mind. No light gets through this beauty. A small cocoa colored half finger head dissipates quickly.

Smell- I get strong dark chocolate notes up front. Very sweet smelling. There's coffee, followed by that signature Stout roastiness. There's a faint hint of oak lurking beneath it all. Almost a whiff of cherries in there?

Taste- Coffee and deep dark chocolate notes lead off and it's quite pleasant but it trails off quickly into an unknown bitterness. It invites a second taste quickly. The roasty character is almost too strong on the second go and it starts to overpower quickly. I find myself wishing that some of the underlying malt and chocolate flavors could shine through.

Mouthfeel- Rich and sticking. It takes on the velvet quality here in the mouth just like in the pour. It sticks to the tongue and the chops.

Overall- A sweet, decently priced Imperial Stout with some slight balance issues? We can't all be perfect and this beer really shines everywhere else. I'm definitely more partial to the BS, and especially the KBS but this is an easy to obtain winner.

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Photo of --Dom--
4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip. Pours like motor oil, nuff said. Not much of a nose on this actually.

The taste? Exquisite. Starts with deep roasted coffee and dark chocolate, It's dense and the flavor continues to unfold. There is a strong hop presence as well, but not how you would think. The taste goes on for miles. I can't even imagine how much dark malt they use making this. The booze is definitely present at 10.5. The mouthfeel is slightly harsh actually, but it's not bad.

Overall, it's amazing. It's definitely in my top 5 RIS's I've had. It does seem somewhat hard to get a hold of. In my opinion, ten fidy is better.

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Photo of Gryphon69
4.36/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle

A- Thick, black, oily with no light coming thru. Very dark mocha 1 finger high head, after a few minutes its still completely covers the top, thick sticky lacing on the sides. Very nice

S- chocolate, vanilla, coffee, some light burnt sugar. some slight alcohol in the nose, but nice mixture overall.

T- Wow, thick, roasted malts, chocolate, slight coffee, a certain sweetness but not quite sure what it is. Finishs with a certain piney bitterness.

M- Beautiful, thick, syrupy, smooth and slick. This beer sticks to everything in you mouth that it touchs. Slight fizziness but nothing to complain about.

O- Ive been waiting for awhile to try this and its lived up to all the expectations and surpassed them. Right from the pour you can see the beauty in it. Thick, full, smells wonderfull and tastes better. Going to get some for the shelf for sure, Highly recommend this to anyone that likes Good Stouts.

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Photo of tattooedtolley
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an beautiful black with a brown head that hung out a bit longer than I would have guessed. Excellent looking impying stout. Nose is full of big roasted malt aroma and a hint of molasses. Taste is big and roasty, excellent impy stout flavor. After having the breakfast stout so many times, its nice to have something without all the coffee in it. Probably not going to session this but its not hard to finish. I had this side by side with some other impy stouts that had a bit more of a hop profile but this was very tasty and well made, I'd buy it again.

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Photo of vince4953529
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one hell of an opaque beer, with minimal carbonation to boot.
It tastes a bit chocolate-ly, and it's rich and smooth without the boozy effects.

This drinks supremely easy, just wish it is available easily in CA so it would become my daily session beer.

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Photo of jslot38
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Easier to get a hold of versus all of the other Founders high octane stout options... and more than holds its own for me.

12oz bottle to Bell's tulip glass. Very thick on the pour, minimal head, some good lacing though especially for a high ABV brew. Needless to say, black as night body, mocha colored lacing.

Aroma has a bit of a burnt note to it, not quite ash like, but very roasted, deep and complex. Molasses, touches of chocolate and coffee.

Taste: Strong roast flavor. A bit of dark fruits run throughout - dates, maybe plums. In the middle of a sip comes some coffee and baker's chocolate. Just a touch sweet, no noticeable alcohol presence, outstanding.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and smooth, low carbonation, velvety.

Overall: One of my favorite imperial stouts. I'll let everyone clamor for KBS and CBS and keep drinking this.

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Photo of merryjoulton
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a thick deep dark black with a thin film of brown that sticks around til the bitter end. Smell is very malty, roasty, toasty, hint of coffee and chocolate, vanilla and smoked bacon. Taste is clean, crisp, malty and dark--much cleaner than I expected as this style tends to be a bit rough around the edges. Mouthfeel is thick and juicy, drinkability is great.

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Photo of dmfrench
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sweet, inky, creamy, hoppy, frutiy, cocoa... epitome of RIS

A: Flawlessly opaque black with a two finger dark khaki head that soon diminished to a thin film, but regenerated with every sip, never exposing the body. A beautiful, slow, and subtle cascade effect entertains as the head stabilizes. Not a whole lot of lacing, but everything else is in perfect order.

S: Balanced presentation of heavily roasted maul, spicy hops, cocoa, dark fruit, and coffee, in that order. A mouth watering aroma, if not overtly powerful.

T: Sweet inky creamy fills every corner of your palate, carrying embittering burnt malt, drying hops, cocoa, fruit, and coffee. Finish is forever long on drying hops and cocoa. Just delicious. Compared to Bell's Expedition, it's heavier on burnt flavors and lighter on fruit, but they have a similar vibe, with Founders Imperial being the classic Stout that I would come back to more often.

M: Biggest, creamiest mouthfeel possible.

O: What can I say but classic... perfection.

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Photo of afausser
3.77/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Pours a near pitch black--the only real hints of color are in the carbonation bubbles and the very small ring of head around the edge of the snifter, which is a fizzy soda/caramel color. What little head there is is not lasting and leaves little trace of its existence save for that ring. The lacing is nice and sticky in a fine foam sheet, which is pretty surprising given all of the other characteristics of the appearance. The lacing bubbles are much smaller than the bubbles that make (or made) up the head, which is also quite interesting.

S: Metal, dark chocolate with slight hints of raspberry, smoke, earth, and coffee notes are all initially present while this one is still cold. There's something a little spicy--but the only specific spice note that I'm getting out of it really is a slight alcohol heat, though that comes across as well blended and creamy. As it warms even a little, it comes across as smooth cocoa and coffee--almost like a very very sweet mocha.

T: Fruits come through nicely in this one. That's not to say that the beer is overwhelmingly fruity--it is mostly metal, smoke, and earth, with dark chocolate and coffee notes, but is definitely colored by a spectrum of fruits. There's raspberries, to be sure, as well as strawberry, lime, and a very faint sour apple blends quite nicely. As it warms, more and more sour cherries come out, as well as a dark raisin note that provides a sort of juicy element to the taste, and eventually the prominent fruit notes are these and the apples. A definite anise notes comes out more and more as it warms as well. There's a very odd slight hint of teriyaki sauce, of all things.

M: Full bodied, smooth and creamy. The bubbles deliver just the slightest crispness to the mouth, which also results in a bit of alcohol heat. I'd describe the crisp feel as subtle but persistent--the bubbles are small but definitely there in force, which results in a sort of minty hint in the aftertaste.

D: Drinkability is low on this one, though still good for the style. Maybe I'm just not feeling it very much tonight, but I'm barely through any of it and am already getting a bit frustrated. Definitely not Founders' best, though usually I'm so impressed with Founders beers that this isn't really all that negative of a comment.

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Photo of don1481
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into Ol' Trusty Pint Glass.

Appearance: Holy blackness. I hold this up to the light and NOTHING gets through. And with a chocolate-colored head. Wow. This clearly means business.

Smell: Lots of coffee here. Some hints of chocolate, smokiness. I don't really smell alcohol here.

Taste: Tastes like coffee with hints of chocolate coming through. I'm not really tasting any of the alcohol, which is surprising. None of the flavors are particularly overpowering - it's a little more... subdued... than what I expected from other reviews. I expected to have to sip this one a little more, but it's going down MUCH more quickly.

Mouthfeel: Pretty clean. Taste doesn't linger at all. Not sticky afterwards.

Overall: Ohhh boy. This is dangerous - I can drink this MUCH faster than the other stouts I've recently reviewed. I'd say that this goes down almost too easy, but since when is that a bad thing when in the confines of one's own home and not driving back from a bar?

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

Poured into a tulip for complete enjoyment. A mildly agressive pour yields a gorgeous, frothy head. The overall consumption experience is top-notch. My only critique is the bitterness ... would prefer if that was scaled back a bit. A little too much burnt taste too. Other than those minor nits, it's a great beer.

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Photo of cps98
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A – Super dark midnight black, nice 2 finger toffee colored head. Really good lacing.

S – Light coffee, milk chocolate notes.

T – Had some burnt malt character along with heavy dark coffee and some dark chocolate.

M – Nice full bodied beer with really good carbonation.

O – This was really nice although I prefer the Breakfast Stout over the Imperial.

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Photo of Rawwie
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

If you like imperial stouts and you've never tried this, do yourself a favor and pick up a four pack of these bad boys. Might be the best stout I've had. Cheers

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Photo of mfunk9786
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I feel strange reviewing this brew first before reviewing any other Founders offerings, because they really do a great job and I feel like by not giving this an A+ I'm understating how fantastic this brewery is on the whole. But I have to keep the style and other examples I've had of the style in mind, so here's my analysis:

A: Black as night. If you were to deep sea dive into a pool of this beer, you'd feel like you'd died and gone to liquid purgatory. There's absolutely no sight of the other end of the glass. Where the appearance really lets me down is in the head, which is minimal at best. The lacing is fantastic and the head never disappears entirely, but from the time I poured it into my Piraat glass, there was never an entire coating of head over the top of the beer, and that was a little disappointing, and it definitely comes into play when we get to the mouthfeel.

S: The smell certainly improves on the appearance. It smells sweeter than this style usually does, which definitely gives it a distinctive edge in this category. A bit of vanilla on the nose, which I found surprising.

T: The taste was a letdown. Once the beer enters your mouth, it's surprising just how bitter and burnt this beer tastes. Maybe I'm spoiled by Founders various Breakfast Stouts, but I was expecting a bit more dark fruit and chocolate, and was met with the liquid equivalent of an 80%+ dark chocolate bar, that's just far too bitter to enjoy straight-up. I've had Imperial Stouts that are able to represent their individual flavors much better than this one, and it came as a huge shock to realize that this beer is so one-note compared to others I've had. That being said, the alcohol is very nicely hidden, and I certainly didn't pour it out, there's definitely enough to like here if you have some stout experience.

M: For the style, the mouthfeel is about average. Thick; chewy.

D: Like I said, I didn't pour my glass out, but the bitterness certainly starts to take its toll towards the end of the glass. It's not the juicy hop bitterness that comes with a great double IPA, instead it's a burnt cocoa and alcohol bitterness that eventually begins to make your tongue go numb. Although, would a numb tongue improve the drinkability rating? These are the questions that plague us. But I'm going with a completely middle-of-the-road score for this style. Not terrible, but not great either.

There are obviously a lot of admirers of this brew, and perhaps Founders' love of chocolate, coffee, and oatmeal in their other brews have spoiled me (is there any better beer on the planet than Founders Breakfast Stout?) but this one just fell short of my expectations. Buy a single bottle if you can find it before you take the plunge on a 4 pack. Luckily, Founders is spreading ever so slowly across the country, so your chances of locating a bottle will increase every year until they get their due as a nationally available brewery.

I purchased my 12 oz bottle for $4.50 at Pinnochio's Beer Garden in Media, PA. It's worth noting, as I probably will be with every single Founders review, how much I appreciate the 12 oz bottles when compared with bomber-obsessed breweries - it's a lot nicer to spend a bit less to try a beer but still get plenty of it to enjoy - and to have a 4 pack available if you do love it.

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Photo of fropones
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Black as night with no light shining through. A decent espresso head goes down to a nice half finger pancake on top.

S - Bakers' chocolate, toffee, molasses, roasted malt, and coffee.

T - Chocolate covered espresso beans off the bat, with more chocolate rounding it out. This is an extremely delicious brew.

M - Good carbonation, nice and chewy, creamy, full bodied.

D - Drinks extremely nice. Not even a sipper at 10.5 abv. Even though it's summer time I'm going to have to go pick up more of this stuff.

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Photo of jtingue
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 Release. Poured into a snifter.

Appearance. So dark that when you pour it it looks as if it were solid. Pours with a finger of dense light brown head, which slowly dissipates to a nice think layer on top of the beer. Lacing is simply amazing, leaving a mosaic of clusters of tiny bubbles permanently on the side of the glass.

Smell. Huge smells of dark roasted fresh coffee beans. There is a definite presence of some sort or dark berry or even raisin scent. Also some nice hearty rye or wheat bread notes in there as well.

Taste. Hits the palate with a quick burst of roasted malts, again with the flavor of hearty rye or wheat bread. The berry and coffee notes detected in the nose come next to do a beautiful dance on your palate. Some bitterness comes in along with they roasted character noted before. Chocolatey sweetness leads into a wonderfully fruity and roasty finish.

Mouthfeel. Heavy body with just enough carbonation to give it a bit of creaminess.

Ho-ly shit. This beer simply blew me away. It is hard to say a bad thing about it. Up until now, this is the best imperial stout I have ever tasted. So much complexity already. I can't wait to age the rest and enjoy at a later date. Highly recommended.

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Photo of MNAle
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black appearance, dark brown tall head. Dark fruit, smoaky, coffee, chocolate, Thick mouth feel. Roasty, bitter taste. Other flavors noted in the aroma are muted, but present: dark fruit, coffee, chocolate. Strong bittering remains from the beginning, middle, and finish. This is an excellent Imperial stout in the American style: multifacted aroma and flavor, but the bittering hops are the primary story.

 406 characters

Photo of nUgZ
4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a black color with a half finger head and some lacing.

S: Roasted malts, dark chocolate, espresso, and a little dark fruit. Just what a RIS should smell like.

T: Very much like the smell, with a little smoke as well. There are hops there, but everything else is so dominant it's hard to tell.

M: Full bodied with a little carbonation. Super smooth...almost ideal.

O: What a treat! I love everything about this beer.

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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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Founders Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.34 out of 5 based on 7,813 ratings.
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