Founders Barrel Aged Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels.

Added by stumac on 04-18-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 41
Photo of sweemzander
4.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

8oz. tap poured into a snifter @ Founders Black Party

(A)- Pours a pitch black color. Produced a light layer of tan foam that dissipated after a minute.

(S)- A rich roastedness with some vanilla & brown sugar. Some molasses & raisin.

(T)- A light booziness that follows into a decadent vanilla butterscotch-like sweetness. Ends with some raisins & molasses. Bits of cocoa.

(M)- A good carbonation level. The only thing throwing off the balance is the potent level of booze-like alcohol heat from the barrel aging or something.

(D)- An interesting twist on their regular imperial stout. Tastes good, but I think their normal imperial stout is more successful particularly in the mouthfeel and drinkability department. I am glad to have tried this variation of it though.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
4.37/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

8 oz tap pour into a snifter and shared with Sweemzander at Founder's Black Party 2010.

A - The tap pour comes out completely black with a low dark tan head with fairly low retention. A thin coating of foam and small spots of lace coat the glass.

S - Huge bold aroma of dark roasted malts and wood barrel with almost zero hop scent. The aroma is incredibly sweet and not too heavily boozy but has a far amount of bourbon going on.

T - Bold roasted malts with hints of coffee and molasses that hide behind the powerful bourbon barrel flavor. It's not an overpowering bourbon flavor though, its actually well-balanced with a good flavor of the wood, not just the bourbon.

M - Full-bodied and smooth with a rich mouthfeel and creamy, smooth finish. Low bitterness from the roasted malts is set back from a warm, boozy sensation.

D - Boozy but not overwhelming, its a nice sipping RIS with a kick. The flavor blends well and results in one hell of a tasty treat.

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Photo of boatshoes
4.77/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Found this much to my surprise on tap at Brews Cafe in Granville. Couldn't wait to give it a shot.

Appearance- Comes off the tap the usual opaque black with a thin sheet of dark brown head across the top. This sheet sticks around for the entire drink too. Not bad.

Smell- Wow, really rich. Lots of strong chocolate comes of this one. Complemented with lots of vanilla, deep roast, and perhaps the slightest bit of coffee.

Taste- Huge notes of cocoa powder, rich bitter chocolate, and fudge really strike me. Incredible chocolate flavors that come out unlike most other barrel-aged beers that I've had. On top of the chocolate, there is more vanilla and bourbon, a little bit of tobacco, and again the slightest bit of burnt coffee. Absolutely no trace of alcohol either. Amazing and in the league of the best bourbon barrel imperial stouts that I've had to this date.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Mouthfeel is rich and silky with enough carbonation to keep it moving. Really easy to drink. Though this was a heavy beer it went down absolutely fantastic and for the ABV, the alcohol was completely undetectable.

Overall, one of the best barrel-aged stouts I've had. And for the record, I had this against a bottle of KBS and hands down preferred this beer. Absolutely try this if you get the chance.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
4.45/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Checked out B-B Imperial Stout Keg Tap @ The Comet in Cinci..

Pours a black opaque color like a brick of motor oil but with a thin ring of chocolate head
smell is heavy of bourbon and smoke and roasted malts
taste is heavily whiskeyed with a great woody roasted malt quality and a heavy bitter chocolate through the middle and a roasted finish.
Finish is flavorful and wet with whiskey malt taste but doesn't stay long enough.
Drinks great not perfect as many may get hung up on the boozey bourbon flavor.

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Photo of mwa423
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hitting the keg of this at Comet, decided to come out to try it.

A - Black as night with a dark tan sticky head

S - Lots of bourbon, sweet rich chocolate and coffee.

T - Bourbon hits first and lots of it, then the flavor of the beer hits. Lots of coffee and chocolate with a hint of dried fruit in the aftertaste. Very thick and full bodied.

M/D - Mouthfeel is as full as it gets, rich and creamy. There is a bit of alcohol burn but that's not surprising. This is quite drinkable for the thickness and abv.

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Photo of punkrkr27
4.38/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tap at Founders. Jet black pour with a dense, lasting, 1-finger, tan head and good lacing on the glass. Lots of bourbon in the aroma. So much so that it sort of burns and lingers after you take a whiff. The aroma also has oak, burnt coffee beans, molasses, rum, alcohol, some ripe dark fruit and milk chocolate. In the flavor the bourbon really comes out first again followed by burnt, bitter coffee. There's a subtle earthy vinousness to the flavor as well as notes of milk chocolate, candied dates, a lasting bitter finish and some vanilla that start to come out as the beer warms. Oily full body with moderate carbonation and lots of alcohol burn. I love how this beer manages to bring out such big bourbon character without covering up the subtleties of the great base imperial stout.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.45/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Founders Brewhouse in July 2009.

Pours a deep black with a rich, high mahogany head. Plenty of lacing is it goes down. The smell is uber strong with plenty of bourbon, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and a slight woodiness. The same notes come out in the taste, with a little bit more of the barrel-aging present in the taste. The mouthfeel is thick and viscous, yet still quite creamy. Alcohol is hidden well. Drinkability would be the one drawback, as it is quite good, but nowhere near as good at making me compulsively sip as something like CBS.

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Photo of GbVDave
4.7/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter at Founders 8/15/09.

Listed on the chalkboard as Imperial Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout 11%

A: Served a shade of black that can only be described as pure evil. Dark espresso crema colored head never really got thicker than 1/3 finger. The foam sloooowly melted down to a thick and bubbly ring that left a bunch of lace specks in the glass.

S: Some guy at the bar kept looking at me funny because I couldn't keep my nose out of the glass! I kept inhaling and shaking my head in disbelief. Heavenly aromas of bourbon, nuclear blackened malt, dry/bitter chocolate, and booze soaked dark fruit.

T: See above. Large patches of toasted oak, bitter dark chocolate, bourbon blended with dark fruit, and bittersweet cocoa nibs. Just when you think the taste can't get any better than the smell. Don't be a naysayer. They are absolutely masterful at Founders.

M: Sweet and smooth with a dry bitter bite. Alcohol presence is there but not intrusive in the least. More of a pat on the shoulder than a slap across the face.

D: All I wrote down in my notes was, "Disgustingly good!" It was.

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Photo of RedHaze
4.6/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes 17Aug09. On tap at Founders.

Pours was extremely dark, nearly pitch black, with thin tan head that faded quickly to a thin film. Lacing was minimal, leaving some thin wisps behind.

Smell; oak and bourbon hit me as it was set in front of me. I knew it would have a good bourbon presence but wow. Vanilla and some faint dark fruits come through once I get used to the bourbon.

Taste; the bourbon is definitely a dominant feature to this beer, but it's not as overpowering as the aroma led me to believe. Bourbon, toffee, chocolate, vanilla and dates. Just layer after layer of flavors. I could drink this all night I think, and still pick out something new I think. I ordered this hoping the barrel aging would not destroy a great Imperial Stout, but this one surpassed my hopes.

Mouthfeel/drinkability; mouthfeel is full bodied and luxuriously smooth, and the drinkability is deceptively good, as this disappeared all to quickly from my glass.

I had a couple other barrel aged beers, including KBS earlier in the week while visiting, and I thought this was best of them all.

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Photo of ROBORB
4.82/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery. It was served in a snifter with a nice 1 inch beige head. The smell was fantastic! I could pick up vanilla, espresso, bourbon and heavy malts. It was served a little too cold at first and the bourbon dominated the taste. As the beer warmed up the complexities came through with vanilla, bourbon, and chocolate. It went down easy and had was very easy on the palate. Man, I hope they bottle this sometime as it is a fantastic brew.

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Photo of maximum12
4.68/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled liberally at the Founder's taphouse on 8/14/09. Two glasses. You'd think one of any barrel-aged stout would be enough, but nooo. This was too good.

Dark black, just like the regular imperial stout. Smell fantastic, the bourbon laying over what was already a good, malty, chocolatey stout.

Taste great. The bourbon creeps into the stout & infuses it with goodness rather than overrunning its positions (like less subtle BCS-type BA brews do). Dammit, this is great. Rich as all get out with the bourbon, malts, chocolate, vanilla, & a nice dash of bitterness at the end that might have been a jab of coffee, or perhaps a dash of hops. Great end to it though.

Top-shelf, excellent beer. I could have had these all night long.

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Photo of gordavidson
4.51/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Absolutely pitch black with a thick and creamy brown head. Syrupy thick and gorgeous.

S- Not very aromatic at all until it gets closer to room temperature. Loads of vanilla and some chocolate.

T- Absolutely wonderful. Super smooth with a massive amount of vanilla and smooth dark chocolate. Very roasty with a hint of alcohol in the tail end and some sweet maple syrup hints.

M- Smooth and creamy with a nice carbonation bite.

D- Sweet and smooth with great vanilla flavor. A big sipper. This would make an excellent desert beer.

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Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at the brewpub. Served too cold I thought, particularly as I was getting condensation on glass. Very Dark brown, with some lacing. Full mouthfeel. Chocolate stout,coffee secondary, barreling gave it wood notes. A sipper, above average mouthfeel.

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Photo of BigAl723
4.97/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at Founders in Grand Rapids. Jackpot!

A: Dark as a moonless night with a thick aggressive dark brown head.

S: The smell is enough to knock your socks off. Campfire, maple, vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, coffee, and...well you get the hint. I was so intrigued by the smell of this stout.

T: About enough taste to make you want to fall off your seat. A lot like it smells. At first the vanilla seemed to dominate over the rest of the flavors but it finishes real smokey like its kid brother (regular Imperial Stout.) Founders really knows how to make a stout.

M: Silky smooth delicacy in my mouth. Like a dessert.

D: The taste alone makes me drink this with no problem at all. Founders hides the 10% quite well. Again, very smooth.

Overall, probably my favorite on the Founders trip and that's saying something considering I also had CBS and KBS! God bless Founders and their stouts!

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Photo of webmanspidey
4.62/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Founders.

A small serving served in a snifter. A thick dark color color with a small amount of tan lacing. Smell was intoxicating, sweet smoky wood, bourbon, and loads of vanilla. Taste was more of the same: loads of vanilla and bourbon. Alcohol was well contained for such a strong powerful beer, really well balanced and made this very drinkable.

This was great, I think I liked this better than the more hyped KBS.

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Photo of akorsak
4.17/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Founders. Shared with FTB and others.

A: The stout is black, a dark morass of a void. Atop said void is a tan-colored head.

S: The nose is bourbon, with vanilla and coffee and chocolate driving the nose.

T: The stout is formidable, a bourbon beast that has a lot to back it up. Vanilla drives the flavor with a boozy afterthought. Coffee and chocolate are strong with cocoa powder evident in the finish. Bourbon ties everything together.

M: A bold stout. This one is a wonder coming out of the barrel.

D: Over 10%? I'll settle for a shared glass. Founders knows their way around stouts.

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Photo of grub
4.8/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

sampled on tap at founders june 12/09.

pours inky opaque black with a thin ring of very fine light brown head surrounding the glass. the head drops slowly and leaves spotty lace.

aroma is great. vanilla and bourbon. anise. coffee and espresso. bittersweet and dark chocolate. bit of milk chocolate. light alcohol. biscuit and whole wheat bread.

taste is excellent. bittersweet and dark chocolate. coffee and espresso. light alcohol. anise. vanilla and bourbon. bit of raw oak. toasted multi-grain bread and biscuit. cracker. bit of grain. caramel and toffee.

mouthfeel is great. nice big body. silky smooth fairly low carbonation level.

drinkability is excellent. perfect balance. great barrel character. almost no trace of the alcohol. this is a great beer!

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Photo of Viggo
4.25/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Founders, 8 oz snifter I think.

Pours a deep and dark opaque black, dark brown in the edge, thin tan head forms, slowly drops to a thin ring, with tons of lace spots sticking to the glass. Smell is great, bourbon and vanilla jump out right away, caramel, chocolate, roasty malts, molasses and toffee, more rich roast, some oak, very nice. Taste is big as well, sweet and bourbony, vanilla and oak, bitter roast, chocolate, caramel, biscuits, molasses, very nice dry buttery oak and licorice finish, solid bitterness, real nice. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, some warming going down but very nice. Founder's has some kickass barrel aging going on, I love the regular IS from them, and this was pretty good.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.15/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the Founders brewpub. This beer was so good, Founders has more than proved that they know how to make a definitive imperial stout. The beer is dark black color with a chocolate milk colored foam, about 1-2 fingers deep. The beer smells like roasted malts, coffee, vanilla oak. The taste is massive too, rich, sweet, and filling. Thick bodied and tasty. As good or better than the regular imperial stout. The Founders brewpub has so many good choices but this is one to look for.

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Photo of waltonc
4.2/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery. I had this after already having CBS and KBS, which were tough acts to follow. I am having to step back and consciously prevent myself for knocking this beer for failing to compare to those brews. This one is good, but definitely not in the same league. Pours oily black without much head. Smell and taste are dark roasted malts, soy sauce, and bourbon. I found this to be too sweet and actually prefer the regular imperial stout more. Mouthfeel was thick and medium carbonation, well integrated with the other components. Didn't end up finishing this because I had to order a second CBS.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.17/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap @ Founders.
8oz pour into snifter.

A - Dark brown, almost black. Little to no head on this one with a small amount of bubbles around the ring of the glass.

S- Lots of bourbon, dark chocolate, coca, roasted coffee beans.

T - Basically the same as the smell. Huge alcohol burn.

M - Medium bodied, perfect carbonation, dry finish.

D - Good but I'm okay with just one of these.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.5/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft at Founders.

Poured black color with a moderate frothy brown head that mostly lasted with excellent lacing. Moderate roasted malt, chocolate, woody cherry and small alcohol aroma. Medium to full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. Medium to heavy roasted sweet woody flavor with a medium to heavy bittersweet smooth finish of moderate to long duration.

Another standout brew.

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Photo of Bung
4.6/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Founders. Black pour with a dark tan head. Lots of lacing. Lots of bourbon and molasses in the aroma. Lots of oak, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, dark chocolate and espresso in the taste. Full bodied, almost creamy mouthfeel, they really have the body of their double stouts consistent throughout the different varieties. Lots of lingering vanilla, barrel, toffee. Alcohol nearly non-existant, but this brew is definetely warming. This might be the best stout I've tasted from them, this could be better than the KBS, better than the CBS, but that is a slightly different beast.
In summary, lots of goodness. Not as bourbon-y as the Bourbon County, with all the benefits of the slightly overshadowed Founders Imperial.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.57/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Approx 50 degrees
Had on-tap @ Founder's on 4-22-2009

Pours a deep, dark black, like oil. Almost two-finger head of dark brown foam, which reminds me of burnt coffee, somehow. Retention is quite nice and the lacing is very good.

The oak and bourbon notes come through, in the nose, right away. They mingle with some nicely pronounced roasted malt notes. The coffee and chocolate notes, from the Impy Stout, are still here, they are just balanced by a butterey, vanilla sweetness.

Once again, the oaky bourbon presence is the first thing you find, tastewise. Nice vanilla notes come out. Roasted chocolate malts and smooth coffee notes follow along.
The Impy Stout, on it's own, impresses me as a very well-balanced beer. This version is just wonderfully smooth and balanced. There is a slight boozy warmth to it, more so than KBS, I'd say, but it is in a beautifully tasty way.

This is what I wanted the Impy Stout to feel like. Nice, full body. Thick and almost to the 'chewey' side. Oily and viscous.

This is a very drinkable brew. Despite the warming effect and bourbon notes, it's 10%ABV is still well-hidden. I think that if they'd bottle this one it would give KBS a run for it's money.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.23/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Founders Brewing Company on 4/23/09. 8 oz pour served in a snifter.

Pours a dense pitch black with a thinnish head at first, that then whips up violently when swirled into an evil looking massive foamy layer of angry reddish and burnt head that just COATS the sides of the glass. This is just great looking. The aroma is nice mellow smelling blend of bourbon and oaky tannins that are evident right away. A strong backing of roasted chocolate malts and coffee from the RIS more than hold their own though. Overall, the bourbon warmth dominates but doesn't overrun the nose.

The taste has even more balance to it. Smooth barrel notes of bourbon, oak, and a touch of vanilla up front, before blending into silky notes of chocolate sweetness, zippy coffee, and dark roast. Bourbon strikes back in the finish with a warm boozy dry feel that lingers. The mouthfeel is full and creamy feeling with an underlying oily slickness. The bourbon notes combine with the ABV to impart a light sting but it only keeps the drinkibility down a bit.

Well balanced but a little too warm yet, this was a very nicely done barrel-aged version of their already great Imperial Stout. This was a welcome treat to find on tap at the brewery.

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Founders Barrel Aged Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.53 out of 5 based on 41 ratings.
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