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:
1,837
Ratings:
7,634
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
17.28%
 
 
Wants:
725
Gots:
2,376
For Trade:
153
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,837 | Ratings: 7,634
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.

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

First had: on tap at Capone's, Norristown, PA

Poured a thick, opaque black with a small mocha head; minimal retention and lacing. Aroma is pretty typical of the style: dark malts, roasty coffee, cocoa, some noticeable alcohol. Sweet taste, caramel, dark malts, chocolate, pumpernickel, some bitterness coming in from the coffee, and a slight alcohol burn. Heavy-medium body, not overly extraordinary or unique, but obviously still a fine brew overall.

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

A: The pour is viscous and black with a finger or so off mocha colored foam that dissipates somewhat quickly, but leaves a nice bit of lacing.

S: Loads of coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, a bit of dark fruit, and a touch of alcohol.

T: The amount of chocolate in this beer is amazing. A very smooth chocolate and coffee taste with a nice hint of bitterness on the finish.

M: Very smooth, rich, and creamy.

D: An awesome RIS, one of the better ones I've had, actually. The alcohol is pretty much non-existent and the flavors are absolutely amazing and epitomize an RIS.

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

I picked this up at Brass Rail in Campbelltown.
Poured from the stubby 12oz into a snifer and an 1/2 pint

A - Almost pitch black like oozing slimy railroad tie pitch w/ a molasses type reddish hue. The cap is a honey shade of brown w/ rocky foam froma vigorous pour. The head settles slowly to a ring around the glass. The opacity is pretty impressive while there are random streams of tan lace splattered like silly string. I am piqued by the beauty of this stout

S - cookies, lots of cocoa and chocolate malt w/ a dark chocolate and mild pine hop aroma. The nose has a caramel/vanilla note and mellow fig w/ toffee accent. Touches of cooking herbs and spicy hop tinges round out the fragrant odor

M - Rich and spicy w/ mucho maltiness-the feel is full. The level of carbonation is moderate which pleases my palate. There is a warmth of alcohol as it finishes w/ bitter hop spice and sweet stickiness of dark malts

T - A rich dark chocolate flavor begins the Founders Imperial Stout experience w/ mild buttery toffee that fades into a bitter citrus hop taste which brings out more caramel and roasted barley flavor in contrast. The spice plays well w/ the dark toasted an chocolate malts. The plum notes come forward gently as it warms w/ an herbal hop taste. The taste of green pepper is noted and seems to overshadow the malty cocoa taste at the end. There is bitter flavors in the residual taste and alchol giving a green impression. The taste of sweetened espresso also unfolds as the final sips reveal more vanilla bean taste in the spice flavor.

D - The taste of this Imperial stout is very layered yet a bit 'angular', slightly on the edgier side w/ more of a malt + hop interplay w/ 90 ibus almost apparent in flavor and the 10% is not very hidden, but it more than makes up for it in the flavor - a highly drinkable impy on the hoppy side. I can't wait to taste this again

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Photo of russpowell
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from joe1510, cheers Joe!

Pours ebony with a pinky of chocolate head. Nice oily sheen, above average lacing & below averagehead retention

S: Bourbon, vanilla, oak & toffee, plus some hazel nut??

T: Dryness, roasty malt, dark fruit, leafy & herbal hops up front. Some booze warmth is coming through as this warms, along with plummyness, charred grain, coffee & oaky dryness. Finishes dry, with juicy charred grain & some dark fruit, plus some smokeyness & sourmash aftertaste

MF: Slick, pretty rich & chewy with great balance

Drinks easy for the style & ABV, not my favorite, but not far from it

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Strangely, it took the BS and KBS to lead me to the IS, rather than the other way 'round (I assume that's the more conventional route, anyway). Finally. The pour results in a black soup usually reserved for coating pelicans and other wildlife during ecological disasters, topped by about a finger of burnt sienna froth. I miss crayons... The nose comprises roasted and toasted malts, molasses, chocolate, maple syrup, and a nice hint of vanilla. Yum so far. The taste holds notes of dark, smokey, roasted malts; dark chocolate; a tiny bit o' vanilla; and a slightly surprising hint of bourbon. The body is Kingpin heavy and coats the mouth with thick, chewy goodness. As much as I want to guzzle this beast, the thickness, richness, and relatively high ABV make this an impossible dream (though, like Quixote, that hasn't stopped me yet). Another fine example of tasty darkness from the boyz in Grand Rapids.

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Photo of orangesol
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on nitro-tap at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint.

A - Pours used motor oil black with a small film of khaki colored head, dissipating down to a spotty film, leaving thin rings of lacing down the glass.

S - Lots of flavor going on in this one but mostly coffee, chocolate, dark roasted malt, booze, and a tiny bit of vanilla. Not too over the top like others, just a solid Imperial Stout.

T - Lots of rich dark roasted coffee mixes well with the dark roasted malt and dulled chocolaty sweetness. The booze comes thru more and more as it begins to come to room temperature. Finish is very roasty with tons of it lingering long after the finish. Not too bad.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Lots of heavy roast in both the feel and the finish. Good overall balance but the booze crept in toward the end.

D - Pretty good. I enjoyed this one but the roast began to wear me down over the course of the glass. Still a very nice beer. Glad I finally got to try it.

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

A: Pours dark black with very little mocha head that dissipated almost instantly.

S: Aromas of roast malts, cocoa and a hint of figs... the alcohol content is detectable in the nose.

T: The alcohol overpowers a little bit in the taste of this beer though I can also detect dark malts, chocolate, and some bitterness.

M: Full bodied with light to no carbonation and some dryness.

O: A little too intense to have multiple of these in an evening... I was slightly disappointed as I had high expectations from the brewery that brought me KBS & CBS. Not as smooth as I would have liked though I could see it pairing well with a dessert.

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Photo of smcolw
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Her's my second review:

Pours like motor oil--thick and dark. Great beige head. Only spotty lace remains on the glass. Very dark brown where no light shines through.

Chocolatey with a touch of coffee. Strong chalkiness to the nose.

Strong French Roast coffee smell. No chocolate in the taste. Very bitter from the burnt malt. The aftertaste goes for a long time...almost chewy. The body is rich, but the alcohol is well hidden. Thick but with a good level of carbonation.

---
First review:

Dark beige head--perhaps the darkest one I've ever seen. Very thick. Leaves a coating of lace like a blanket on the glass. The liquor is nearly black.

Lots of chalky cocoa to the nose.

Dry, coffee flavors up front. Although it is potent at 10.5% abv, the alcohol warmth is missing--very deceptive. There's a touch of cream to this beer. The body is extremely rich, like light cream. The carbonation is low so it is exaggerated.

It's too dry to be a dessert beer; it's too rich to be a regular brew. But it is a special beer, worth seeking out.

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Photo of billab914
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Bruery tulip. Poured a thick black color with a moderate dark tan head on it. The head all but faded away after a few minutes, but left some very good spider web lacing.

The aroma really has a lot of dark chocolate flavors coming through. A little coffee along with some roasted malts also play a pretty big role. A little malty, chocolaty, sweetness helps balance it out a bit. Very pleasant aroma.

The taste shows a lot of dark, bitter, chocolate to it with some coffee and roasted, slightly burnt malts coming through. It has just a hint of chocolaty sweetness to it as well. The chocolate flavors are excellent for a beer without actual chocolate added, that I know of at least.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side and moderately creamy. Carbonation is moderate. Drinkability is very good, it was a great beer to sip on this evening. The chocolate, bitter flavors were particularly nice. Excellent beer overall.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jparkanzky for this beer, been wanting to try it for a long time!

A: Pours an inky black, extremely dark, like oil, no light passes through it at all. A one finger brown head forms upon pouring, but reduces to a thin layer of bubbles on top rather quickly.

S: Loads of dark and bakers chocolate, some roasted barley, molasses, and a slight touch of coffee.

M: Flavor explosion! Roasted malt, tons of dark chocolate, hints of coffee/espresso, and a touch of alcohol - buy very faint. There is a little bit of dark fruit in the middle with a bitter finish.

M: Medium to full bodied, but not overly heavy. Smooth and creamy, somewhat dry with a nice lingering finish.

O: A great beer, lives up to its reputation. Incredibly drinkable with a great flavor profile.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my Duvel tulip. Received as part of my Secret Santa box thanks to pwoods; thanks Patrick! Bottle in from January 2009.

a - Pours a jet black color with two inches of tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Tiny bit of lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of cocoa, sweet chocolate, caramel malts, roasted malts, sweet fruit, and some sugar or molasses. A lot sweeter than I was expecting but I really like it a lot.

t - Tastes of milk chocolate, cocoa, roasted malts, vanilla, dark fruits, molasses again, and very very light alcohol. Again, very good.

m - Full body and low carbonation, very smooth and creamy. Great mouthfeel.

d - A really great RIS; I loved this beer. I thought the nose was amazing and the taste was almost as good. It also had a great body. Would love to have this again.

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

This has been an elusive beer for me I've had many of Founders specialties and rarer brews but I have had trouble tracking down the Imperial Stout until I stopped in at D's this past week. I love anything dark they make especially their porter I wish they would make a standard stout as well because their porter is world class.

Appears a deep dark black hue with a big mocha tan head forming thick in my Sierra Nevada chalice. Fine even seckled lacing all around this black beauty.

Aroma has big dark chocolate and espresso bean freshly roasted tones with big vanilla and slight anise edges to it. Dark fruit hidden in the dark roasted malt character, almost a wine like nose in the finish.

Flavor is creamy roasted malt ridden with bitter dark chocolate and heavy espresso notes. Heavy hops hit the palate with a sharp creamy milk chocolate syrup finish this stuff is classic and should be a friend of any craft beer fiend.

Mouthfeel is full bodied coats the palate from the front to the back, I can't get enough of this style of big beer from Founders just tell them as they get it it's okay to send it to the Pittsburgh market.

Drinkability overall is incredible the best heavy dark beer I've had whilst living in te ohio valley for quite sometime.

Update version bottled on 12-15-11

Appears so dark that it absolutely absorbs all degrees of the visible light spectrum, big dark tan head almost a leathery brown thick soft textured head creamy billowing just outright beautiful. Fine speckled lacing dances around the sides of my Samuel Smith imperial pint glass. Aroma has earthy herbal hops big loads of dark chocolate notes, something soy sauce about this batch that works into an imperial stout profile, dark fruit hints of anise black licorice. Flavor is full of dark fruit big blast of coffee dark espresso grade strength, creamy dark chocolate bitterness just an aboslute excellent interpretation of an imperial sout. Full bodied stout that coats the palate from every angle the most filling beer around, even smooth carbonation not a cloying bone in this beers body. Supreme being of imperial stout in the world there's really not a better beer out there even compared to KBS, CBS, or Breakfast Stout this beer is the base example of all of those beers.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.16/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a brownish head. Nose is boozy with touches of molasses. Flavor is intense coffee off the first hit. Lots of roasted malts. Just a punch in the mouth nearly. Mellows out and gives a lot of molasses too fairly quickly. Thick and robust. Seems a bit too boisterous to be bringing the subtleties that you might be able to draw off the other "biggies." Either way, who cares. It's still hearty and robust and carries a great flavor profile. Thick molasses and quite malty. (But mostly, it's bringing the molasses.) Feel is thick and smooth on liquid. Carbonation is low. A pretty intense and hearty RIS. Another Founders beer I have enjoyed.

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

A: Deep black with a nice beige head and moderate lacing

S: Great aroma of roasted malt, very slight alcohol

T: Absolutely delicious. well balanced. 10.5% masked very well. One of the better imperial stouts I have had. Founders has this whole stout brewing endeavor down pat. This is such good beer.

M: Wonderful balance of carbonation and smooth, easy going beer, especially for 10.5%

D: One of the easiest drinking 10+ % beers out there. Highly recommended.

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Photo of stakem
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black in color with more than a finger of severely dark tan head. You can fire up the high beams on this guy and no light is shining through. Fair retension and a decent amount of lace clings to the glassware. Aroma includes hops, coffee, chocolate and alcohol. Taste is bitter upfront from a combo of hops and burnt grain. Body of the beer includes the taste of burnt grains, bitter chocolate, strong black coffee and alcohol. The alcohol plays an interesting role with balancing out the different tastes this beer has to offer and strangely enough doesnt have much "warming" factor. Feel of this beer is thick with moderate carb. Overall quite good.

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Photo of jwc215
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours opaque black with a brown head that becomes a wisp. Some dots of lacing, along with "legs" stick.

The smell is of dark chocolate, coffee, some molasses and some licorice blend, with a whiff of alcohol.

The taste is of coffee and chocolate, some licorice. Roasted malt is balanced by earthy, slightly citric, bitterness. It's a bitter interpretation of the style, though some sweetened dried fruits (plum-like) come through well into the progression/warming. Finishes very dry.

It is full-bodied and creamy/velvety. It has a stickiness, though not cloying.

Drinks very well despite obvious intensity and alcohol. A very nice brew that makes for a tasty, strong sipper. A powerful, bitter/dry, yet drinkable, version of the style. I have to say that this was enjoyable, but I enjoyed the complexities and overall taste of the Breakfast Stout more (though I do understand that it is a different, though related, style).

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Jet black, even pouring out of the bottle, with no head at all. No lacing. Hardly a wisp of chocolate lacing atop of the body. It stains the glass as I swirl it around.

Smell - Strong coffee aromas with chocolate, roasted malts, and a dark fruit background. Great aromas. All the different aromas you'd look for in a big stout like this.

Taste - Big chocolate and coffee flavors immediately, followed by a slightly sweet flavor of dark fruits. The finish is all stout, though. Bitter coffee and hops drown out everything in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Creamy body with some alcohol burn in the finish. The bitterness is very strong. Combined with the alcohol and low carbonation, this one is definitely a sipper. Slow drinking.

Overall - The flavors are huge at the expense of aesthetics and drinkability. Wonderful flavors that require my full attention over the course of an hour or so. I am consistently wowed by the flavors, though.

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

Terminal blackness describes the appearance, full-on ebony, covered by a toasted brown cap.
Aroma is all things you want in an Imperial Stout, mollases, carob, anise, mostly chocolate, with undertones of coffee, rich, complex and deeply dark....a tickler for the nostrils, there's a fullness of flavor in the smell of this, that simply must be savored at length. I want to stave off the sipping, just to bask in this olfactory delight.
On the lips and off the tongue, it's a thick, rich sensation...a fullness in the mouth, comes in grand force and takes over the cavernous reaches of the mouth...sits in command on the palate, as excess dark deliciousness drips over...a kingpin of the Imperial Stout variety, though certainly no Dark Lord...I don't taste any 12%, but it's making it's way assuredly onto my system, I can nice drinkability on it, too, despite the high octane booziness...it doesn't feel too bad on me, at least, not until I try to stand up...whoop=wha---whoa!!

much thanks to Chaz for the bottle...a happier day will fall when Founders is available locally!

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

Received in trade from TexIndy, Thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a solid black with a smallish tan head that doesn't visit for very long. Smells of chocolate syrup and roast, slight perfume aroma and a bit of alcohol as it warms. Taste is roasty and filled with chocolates. Hop presence is felt mid to finish as well as a bit of alcohol bite, which then gives way to a roast bitterness. Body is thick, mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, carbonation is low but adequate. Its a good Imp Stout, hoppier than I like. I wish I had more so I could lay some down.

02/26/2012
Revisited this today as I lucked into a four pack of this in VT. Solid black with a thin tan head that subsides but never really disappears. Smells is heavy on the milk and dark chocolate with some roast and earthy hops. Taste is about the same. Hugely smooth silky creamy mouthfeel with a light level of carbonation and a medium to thick body. I don't recall liking this one as much the first time I had it, but I really enjoyed this today. My review reflects this sampling.

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

Pitch black, motor oil pour with dark brown, mocha head. Aroma has dark, roasted malts, umami and a bit of caramel and dark chocolate. Taste is roasty with lots of dark chocolate with really bitter and roasty finish, maybe even some earthy hop bitterness. Really heavy mouthfeel with soft carbonation. A really well made, classic but tasty imperial stout.

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Photo of tdm168
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pitch black with a thin, dark brown head that has little retention

S - chocolate, anise, black licorice, roasted malts, coffee

T - coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee-like bitter finish

M - full bodied, smooth, well carbonated

This is a really complex, intricate, and delicious beer. Each sip showcases its depth. You can taste each flavor distinctly in each sip, but they also come together in a great balanced flavor. This is definitely one of the more complete Imperial Stouts on the market. This is most certainly worth a try.

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

This is the 2009 release - the recipe must be slightly different, as it lists 10.5% ABV and 90 IBUs. Served in a pint glass.

A - Looks like a good stout should. One finger of mocha foam that dissipates and leaves a ton of lacing. It's pitch black (not even brown at the edges), and there's a bunch of bubbles at the bottom of the glass.

S - Coffee, bittersweet chocolate, roast malt, some dark fruit sweetness as well - plums, currants, etc. There's some hop flavor as well, in a similar vein as fresh Darkness. It's really delicious, but not huge.

T - There's a lot of bitterness in this one - coming from the coffee, bitter chocolate, and even the hops. There is some residual sweetness on the edges of my tongue, but the taste is pretty consistent. Even the aftertaste is kind of bitter. I'm curious to see if this mellows out and sweetens up as it ages.

M - Medium-bodied, with a surprising amount of carbonation tingle to it. Leaves a sticky coating on the inside of my mouth.

D - The surprisingly refreshing mouthfeel and well-hidden ABV make this a very (and dangerously drinkable) stout. I should probably be sipping it, but instead I'm hitting it like an IPA. I'd definitely bring a 4-pack to a party.

It'd be nice if this was made more often than every three years, although it's not like Founder's has any bad brews to displace (they seem to have given up on that quad they made).

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Photo of smakawhat
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Happy to at once get my hands on this. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Pours like oil out of the bottle... borderline black. No head to speak of but perhaps 2 millimeters of dark mahogany bubbles. Slowly falls. Body is dark as night.

A good solid nose of faint chocolate with malt character. Simple roast too. Slight sweetness, cloyingly feels deceptive. Unfortunately there isn't much else to it than that. Strangely a smell of a hard boiled egg.

Taste is just a solid malt, with a simple good tobacco. Some carbonation though but a huge aerated mouthfeel of tobacco and whisps of dark bitter chocolate. Has borderline milk/cream stout fizzyness on the end but dark chocolate comes out in the swallow. Mouthfeel has lots of silk, but would be silkier if it wasn't so carbonated. Carbonation tingles on roof mouth long after beer has been consumed also. ABV is also very well hidden and masked.

Still another great beer from Founders what can I say, I get more and more impressed with these guys every time.

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

An awesome unexpected extra sent by JohnQVegas, one of my all time favorite RIS, Founders. You are the man.

Beer is black and has a brown head with tiny bubbles that disappears quickly. Minimal lacing on the glass.

Beer is roasty and sweet in the aroma, inviting me to drink.

Beer is sweet and mildly roasty without an aftertaste. Lots of coffee flavors, no ash. Medium body, easy drinking, beautiful. Mildly sweet in the front overall very nice. So drinkable, great feeling in the mouth too. I love this beer. Next opportunity I'm buying a case of this.

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