Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged | Founders Brewing Company

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47 Ratings

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.60%

Availability: Rotating

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

Added by Beer-Zombie on 04-18-2009

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 47 |  Reviews: 29
Reviews by BigAl723:
Photo of BigAl723
4.97/5  rDev +8.8%
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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More User Reviews:
Photo of ROBORB
4.82/5  rDev +5.5%
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 boatshoes
4.77/5  rDev +4.4%
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 Magpie14
4.7/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: very rich black color, very wonderful apperance in the brandy snifter. The head is a hearty light copper/tan color and graced my snifter for a good while. No lace, no biggie at 11% ABV I found myself treasuring every sip

Smell: bourbon, coffee, bitter chocolates, and chunks of roasted malts. Topping this off is a hint of sweet coconut. Very addicting

Taste: an excellent combination. Bourbon flavors mingle with crushed vanilla beans and accentuate the bitter chocolate taste. Flavors start with roasted malts and java mixed in with delicate caramel filled chocolate squares with a good dose of bourbon floating underneath, flavors are perfect. Bourbon is not to strong and not to weak. Sits perfectly in your mouth. Slight bitter hopped aftertaste is the final touch to this great stout!

Mouthfeel: another one of the smoothest beers I have had to date. Creamy, smooth and a distinct softness to it. It goes down way to smooth with a peppery bite at the back
It is a bit strong alcohol wise...just one makes the knees weak!

Drink: a great quality beer! enough said!

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Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev -16.8%
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 Kegatron
4.23/5  rDev -7.4%
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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Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of CortexBomb
4.2/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 brewing, consumed in fall of 2006.

Founders usually has interesting beers on tap at their tasting room, and this was the special treat of the day when I visited last.

Bourbon Stout was poured out into a snifter. The colour was blackish in tone, with heavy lacing. The smell was a stouty roast mixed with alcohol notes from the cask and a definite bourbon edge.

The flavour essentially revolved around two things; the bourbon/oak aspect from the cask, and the rich chocolatey flavour from the stout itself. A nice combination...not an oak bomb like Old Curmudgeon though, the alcohol and cask are definitely present, but don't dominate the flavour as much here. The stout aspect of the flavour is front and centre. Nice, enjoyable flavour.

Mouthfeel was good, definitely full and sticky. Drinkability, also good, but I'm used to drinking these heavier stout offerings.

Overall: if you're up at Founders anytime soon, this is definitely worth giving a whirl, another very solid beer by my favourite Michigan brewery!

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Photo of Bung
4.6/5  rDev +0.7%
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 akorsak
4.17/5  rDev -8.8%
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 BeerFMAndy
4.37/5  rDev -4.4%
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 CaptainNomihodai
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of HungarianCount
4.5/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of JoshVandy
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of GbVDave
4.7/5  rDev +2.8%
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 Thorpe429
4.45/5  rDev -2.6%
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 granger10
4.37/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Luckily, I was able to get this beer leftover from the Black Party that I missed last week. Looks super dark, almost so dark that its purple in color if that makes sense. Slight tan head skimmed across the top and moderate lacing. Aroma is very nice with a residual sugar sweetness, some vanilla, and bourbon undertones. As it warms I get chocolate and coffee from the aroma as well as a little hoppyness. Taste is also really good. Thick concentrated body with concentrated flavors. Intense. The oak seems noticeable but doesn't take over the beer. The same can be said for the bourbon. Dark chocolate flavor is dominant and the finish has a nice intense bitterness to offset the sweetness from the malts and hops. A very good beer and a sipper for sure. Another job well done by the Founder's crew.

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Photo of Phoodcritic
4.25/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of grub
4.8/5  rDev +5%
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 Cowgrlkar
5/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of waltonc
4.2/5  rDev -8.1%
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 sweemzander
4.23/5  rDev -7.4%
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 GlennFreeman
4.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of gordavidson
4.51/5  rDev -1.3%
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 RedHaze
4.6/5  rDev +0.7%
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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Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.57 out of 5 with 47 ratings