Foundation Brewing Company

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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #190
Ranked #3,529
4.16 | pDev: 7.69%
Foundation Brewing Company
Maine, United States
Reviews: 28 | Ratings: 122 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SABERG
4.09/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can dated 11/18/18 into the test glass
A - No light makes it through, a quick to depart froth leaves, beautiful lacing.
S - Cocoa, dark roast malts, a hint of Mole sauce.
T - Bakers chocolate, a bit earthy, a bit of molasses, and Canadian Brown bread.
M - A bit light on the palate, sweet throughout, the linger is luxurious.
O - Glad to have had this, a very well constructed RIS, and worth the effort to find

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Photo of Bierman9
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Alewife and I stopped into The Grill Next Door today for a pre- Super Bowl lunch. My second bier was a 12oz pour of this, at $7.00.

Had a small snifter-type glass filled with a dark, oily, opaque liquid. Had a touch of fine tan bubbles at the edges, and light lacing. Nose was nice, with enticing roasty notes, choco, and molasses. Body was medium-plus, and it was exceedingly smooth.

Flavor also had dark choco and ovaltine action, with some semi-sweet cocoa nibs. Also had a touch of roastyness, along with another hint of molasses. A very nice nightcap, even in the middle of the day! Prosit!!

4.24/5 rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


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Photo of taulest
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the can into a tulip. Pours black with a small frothy dark head that dissipates into a nice florid pattern that sits on the surface. The lacing is decent for such a heavy beer. The smell is hardly there at all, though this one has been sitting in the can for about two months. There is a faint whiff of something metallic, which I don't hate for such a rugged, heavy-duty beer. The mouthfeel could be a bit heavier, but the carbonation is appropriate, and it is cut by the smoothness just right. The taste is dark, bitter chocolate and a hint of damp-cellar-type dankness. This beer is big and cozy. Pairs well with spending all day outside in the snow.

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Photo of papposilenus
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From a 16oz can, probably dated 11/14/17 but the ink's pretty smudged. Served in an imperial pint pub glass.

Pours a deep, dark mahogany-black with maple highlights and a luxuriant two finger-plus head of soft mocha cream. Retention is very good and leaves a bubbly curtain of lacing.

Nose is all fudge and toasted nuts and rich, warm, malty wonderfulness.

Taste is burnt coffee fudge. Roasted-to-the-brink-of-charred malt, damp oats, tollhouse bits and malted milk balls. Soft, warming bitterness with a hint of seville orange and leafy greens at the ending.

Feel is soft, super-smooth and a little oily, medium-hefty bodied and decently carbonated with just a little satisfyingly boozy warmth in the gullet.

Overall, an exceptionally nice RIS. Other than a little warmth going down there is no indication that this is a 10% abv beer although, now that I think of it, my toes are a little further away than they had been.

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Photo of jlindros
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Canning date has like 4 prints over each other, so can't tell, but it should be fresh

Pours a large fluffy foamy 1+ finger mocha head that fades at a med pace, a quite a bit of soapy sticky lacing, pretty much pitch black and decent legs

Nose a fair amount of roasted malts, roasted barley, biscuity toffee, caramel, baking spices, a bit of roasted coffee, a little nutty and a little fudgey, a touch of chewy nougat, and mild cocoa

Taste brings lots of biscuity bready doughy malt, creamy oats, toasted grain, stale cracker, some cocoa and dark chocolate, into roasted malts, big roast and some acrid bitter notes, char, etc, a bit smokey even, with big burnt coffee, molasses and caramel with toasted brown malts, a bit nutty again, as well as biscuity cookie notes, touch of spices again, some spicy earthy hops mixed in the middle, quite bitter between the spicy hops and roasted barley bitterness, nougaty center. Finishes a bit drier, a touch of warming alcohol, big roast and spicy bitterness lingering, acrid roast.

Mouth is fuller bod, rich a bit creamy, thick and chewy, bitter acrid and astringent, fluffy carbonation, very little alcohol

Overall not quite my cup of tea for an imperial stout, way too roasty acrid and bitter, and on top of that it calls itself a Russian Imperial Stout, and it starts that way with the big roasted malts etc, but where are the dark fruits? I do like the chocolate and fudgey notes, as well as mild baking spices and bready biscuity malts, etc, and alcohol is hidden well.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, dark fruits, cherry skins and cocao nibs. Maybe a hint of Turkish coffee. Dry, bitter finish. Very solid Russian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From the 2017 16 oz. can that has a smudged canning date of November 2017. Sampled on November 23, 2017.

It has a jet black opaque pour with a modest mocha head that fades to a ring. Some lacing.

The aroma runs the gamut with roasted, burnt malts, chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, earthy hops,and a little alcohol.

The body is medium to full but so smooth and easy on the tongue.

It gets better as it warms not that it was bad in the first place. But I like how the chocolate, coffee, and oat characters seem to mellow as the session goes along. Roasted and burnt too. A bit more booze than in the aroma but warming at the end. Moderate bitterness.

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

On tap at The Blackback Pub, Waterbury, VT. This was poured into a tulip. The appearance was a dark hazy burnt brown color with a bartender’s pour of a white little head. Light lacing after the head dissipated. The smell takes in some bitter to roasty sweet coffee beans. Light cocoa powder slides in. Light bitter citrus hops balance in underneath. The taste was mainly bitter and roasty. Coffee and cocoa are on top of the citrus hops. Light roasty cocoa /coffee aftertaste. Light roasty semi-sweet finish. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a fairly decent sessionability about it. Carbonation runs fairly light allowing a nice smoothness to hit. Overall, I say this was a pretty good RIS. Citrus seems controlled enough for creativity from the brewer but not go overboard. I’d have again.

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Photo of mynie
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A heavily hopped RIS brewed with oats. I've been holding onto this can for well over a year; somehow I didn't review any of the ones I drank earlier.

Anyhow, it's a lively pour: very dark ruby with a brown head.

In the aroma, the hops have faded much less than I thought they would have, but they're still not as pronounced as they were when it was younger. With age, some red wine and fruit nodes become more present, and the aroma overall is more rounded. This ages a lot better than, say, Darkness.

Tastes hoppy up front; almost like a straight-up IPA. The middle is vinious and chocolatey and the finish is burnt, bitter barley and sharp west coast hops. It's and odd RIS, which it was even when it was fresh, but the age has actually sharpened the weirdness instead of rounding it out. The result is not something that everyone is going to like, but I appreciate any beer that manages to be adventurous while sticking more or less within stylistic parameters.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep, dark and premierely roasty, the Foundation team gets back to basics and dusts off a time honored Russian imperial stout in true British fashion. Larger than life, the ominously dark beer is certainly not shy on complexity, power or richness.

Forge is pitch black with an onyx-like sheen. Its dense blanket of froth skirts the glass like milkshake and overtakes the nose with roasty expresso, savory dark chocolate and a host of burnt sugars. A back note of citrus and grassiness lurks in the recesses as its taste opens with toffee, molasses, brown sugar and those promises of chocolate and coffee.

Rolling onto the middle palate like roasted marshmallow, the beer's seared sweetness slowly relaxes while its espresso, bittersweet chocolates, black walnut and burnt toast properties continue to rise. Firmly bittered, the beer's hop bite trends from citrus and into an assertive bite that's most closely associated with dark roast coffee, bitter chocolate and walnut. Remaining grassy, its herbal finish is dusted lightly with fennel, peppercorn and dark fruit.

Full, lavish and creamy, the beer's velvety textures seem to trend malty dry and apply less weight or thickness on the finish than expected. Arid with char and campfire, the finish is medium long with rolling echoes of roasted sweetness on the back of the throat.

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Photo of Newbeergeek1
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am partial to this style of beer and they have brewed a very nice one with Forge. I will look for it to have MORE. Dark look, nice head, great taste and with a swirl before swallowing there wasn't lots of after tastes to deal with that sometimes ruin a good beer for me. Well done.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

12 oz can poured into Spiegelau glass

A: deep rich black body with a small creamy off white head that settles to a small film. This beer is obsidian no light escaping the body.

S: get some bitter floral herbal hops, cocoa, anise, roasted malts, dark bakers chocolate

T: so rich and decadant like chocolate layered upon cocoa and roasted malted nuts the hops are there but they are lighter and really support the rich smoothness of this beer

M: nice full heavy body and creamy body really while its not quite chewy it is superb

O: This beer is astonishingly good, it has such an an amazing balance between crazy malty rich chocolate deacadence and the hops plane that field out without giving it a bitter overwhelming feel like Yeti. Or make this beer feel like a black IPA. The body is remarkable as well. Just well rounded full and creamy but not cloying or viscous

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Photo of Damian
3.09/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

Drank from a 1 pint 9.4 fl oz (750ml) bottle purchased at Portland Food Co-op, Portland, ME
Served in a snifter

Gorgeous appearance. Dark brown, approaching black. Perhaps a bit thinner than anticipated for the style. The beer was capped by an immensely tight and creamy, two-and-a-half finger tall, saddle brown head. This almost looked like it was poured from a nitro tap. Outstanding retention. The crown ever-so-slowly fell to a thick cap of bubbly froth. A clingy, drippy wall of lacing coated the entire glass.

Solid aroma. Nothing crazy but fragrant and pleasant. Fruity notes were apparent. Plums and raisins came through strongest. Moderately sweet. Bit of brown sugar. Some dark chocolate and powdered cocoa were noticeable as well. As the beer sat, dry, powdery, yeasty notes came forth. The yeastiness eventually became a bit overwhelming.

The flavor profile was really harsh and raw. The beer started with roasty, dark malt notes and a bit of brown sugar sweetness. There was a hint of dark chocolate too. Soon, however, the hops appeared and completely overwhelmed my palate. Super piney, earthy and bitter hop notes. Oily and resinous to the extreme. I have tasted many uber hoppy and bitter IPAs and double IPAs that were far less offensive than this beer. Combined with the roasted, charred malt notes on the back end and in the finish, this imperial stout was barely drinkable. Bitter, piney, resiny hop notes stuck around for far too long after the swallow.

The mouthfeel was terrific. Fuller bodied for the style. Borderline viscous. Creamy, slick and smooth on the palate. The liquid contained a very fine, moderate, tongue blanketing effervescence.

Even with over a year of age on this bottle, Forge was still an overly hoppy, bitter and acrid mess. While a number of things about this beer were commendable, I simply could not get past the harshness of the flavor profile. Fans of hoppy, tongue lashing stouts and black IPAs might appreciate this, but I would suggest that others avoid it.

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Photo of SenatorSpaceman
2.4/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Not Foundation's best work. Tastes burnt and bitter like a bad cup of cold black coffee. I know they can make good dark beers, cause their Bedrock Porter is marvelous, but I'm not feeling this one.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Canned date - 2/16/16 The Forge Awakens

Pours a dark brown/black color with a smallish head, fades slowly and leaves a lasting cap on top, some decent lacing on the glass, a nice viscous pour.

Smell is fairly straightforward with a roasted malt backing with a very slight touch of pine.

Taste decidedly stronger in the hop presence, the first thing that hits is pine, roasted malt backing balances things out slightly with a coffee-like bitterness in the aftertaste, fairly bitter throughout which is odd for a RIS, a nice chewy body with soft but ample carbonation.

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Photo of WesMantooth
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pitch black and oily. Not much head though.

Smells amd tastes very roasty. Not a lot of coffee flavor. More bitter chocolate. Very malty with a chewy body. Solid bitterness, but very clean/smooth. Some burnt/carmalized brown sugar, and a touch of tobacco. Alcohol is non existent. Dangerously drinkable. Excellent stout

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Photo of jkesh93
4.14/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: Kind of like coca-cola. Has a dark dark amber color to it.
Smell: IMO not so well crafted. Highs of spruce and pine. Lows of chocolate and earthyness.
Taste: Texture - Syrupy. Syrupyier than most. I find the flavor to be earthy, chocolatey, and deep. Not as bitter as an IPA but definitely well past any 'strong' lagers. Definitely a Stout.
Feel: Comfortable mouth feel -- goes down smoothly.
Overall: A solid beer, but not their best.

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Photo of Chico1985
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Second can from the ol MLK-weekend Portland trip. Cold and snow in April just shouldn't be a thing so a big stout it's gonna be. Dated 12/29/15.

A - 12oz can to Tree House glass. Pour is black and viscous of course with a good and healthy 2 fingers or so of tan head. A patchy cap+thick ring remain along with some lacy bits.

S - Pretty big roast leaning towards char with quite a nice potent fudgy chocolate presence as well. A decent piny+earthy hop kick and some licorice. Pretty good strength, nice sturdy RIS scent right hurr.

T - Follows the scent in a big roast+chocolate combo, but the balance and potency truly shine here. A bit heavier on the chocolate here which seems to smooth things out a bit, still feeling those hops as well, licorice and some raisin.

M - Really quite spectacular. Very smooth and chewy, nice carbonation level, bold but very drinkable for 10%. Great mix of roast+sweet malts and hop bitterness, satisfying ashy finish.

O - Straight-up no-adjunct RIS seems like a seldom-made style nowadays, and this one goes strong. For really just going down the big black malt+kinda hoppy stout path this is a decadent and very well put together, the feel+drinkability for sure being the highlight for me. I was kind of yearning for a bit more complexity but a flat-out RIS of this quality is something to appreciate, and this has me reminiscing about Old Rasputin, Ten Fidy, Founders Imperial Stout and the like.

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Photo of jhavs
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a big, full force, all hands on deck RIS. The beer looks the part. Deep, dark, full on opaque with a thin whispy mocha latte cap.
The aroma is roasted malts, hint of bitterness in the form of unsweetened chocolate.
Flavor follows the aroma, lots of roasted malts, structured bitterness that does not overpower, hints of chocolate and dark roasted bitter coffee all blended nicely together with a heavy malt bill.
Full mouth feel, light side of moderate carbonation appropriate for the style.
Overall a great RIS, deep flavors, noticeable but not off-putting booze, nice 12oz can packaging. Will buy again, seems appropriate for cellaring.

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Photo of Caput_H_lupulorum
4.14/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 fl. oz. can (1 month after canned date):
L - A dark beer with a coarse foamy brownish head that dispersed rapidly, leaving good lacing on the glass.
S - Chocolate, coffee and some fruity notes.
T - Burnt roasted malts and coffee flavours dominate but with vanilla chocolate notes and a bitter finish.
F - Thick but not cloying, slighlty too effervescent but this creates a refereshing feel for such a high gravity beer.
O - Another great beer from Foundation that with a few adjustments could be spectacular.

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Photo of DoctorD
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours very dark with a minimal head and left the most beautiful lacing down the glass - it's still hanging there 10 minutes after I finished! Smells wonderful, very chocolately and rich. But the taste was way more hops than malt - aggressive hops that left a distinctive bitter edge. As it warmed the hops remained at the forefront, which wasn't necessarily bad but certainly disingusihes this from other stouts like 10 Fidy that are more balanced and smooth. The mouthfeel was tremendous - sticky without being oily. Overall, this was a little too hop-forward for me, but I am going to age the rest of my cans until next winter and see if this balances out.

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Photo of cbutova
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Canned 12/29/15; 3rd can out of the pack so far.

A- Can into a wine glass with a pitch black, yet not oily, body and a very tall light mocha tan cap reaching over two fingers with a fluffy, creamy consistency. Great head retention and lacing is plentiful with thick sheets.

S- Beefy roasted malts and a general decadent sweetness take the majority of the aroma but the hops are also fairly strong for the style. Milk chocolate bars, a touch of dark cocoa powder, dark roast coffee beans, fudge, deep and sweet caramel, toasted nuts and earthy hops.

T- The general balance is for the most part carried over from the aroma with chocolatey roast malts leading to sweet caramelized sugars and then hops. The chocolate balance for me shifts more towards dark bitter cocoa with some residual milk chocolate hints beyond it with the toasted nuttiness, coffee, toffee, raisin and hops. Those hops also gain some ground here with a distinct earthy and floral-citrus profile.

MF- Rich and thick bodied. The pour did not appear all that oily but on the palate it becomes so with a chewy creamy texture. Carbonation on the higher side which allows the hops and dark grains to play better together. Finishes with burnt malt and hopped bitterness, a moderate level.

I am becoming more fond of this beer with each and every sip. Boasting a massive body, rich chocolate flavors from charred grains and a fairly big hop kick the balance is the exemplary trait in Forge. Each sip ends leaving you wanting more. A very fine straight-up RIS.

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured this beer from a can into a goblet, which may not have been the right glass for a stout.

(L) I get a nice dark almost black hue with an inch thick light brown head.

(A) I get a pleasant coffee aroma with some chocolate.

(T) A nice taste of roasted malts, coffee, some chocolate, and a lingering hop bitterness, but no alcohol taste at all.

(F) A little bit creamy but pretty light overall.

I thought it was very good.

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Photo of Steve_Tkachuk
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Canned on 12/29/15 "Putin your mouth" stamped with date, clever little owd to the Russians.

A: Inky pitch black, with real nice one finger mocha head that hangs around for a little while. Decent lacing.

S: I get some chocolate, roasted coffee beans and definitely hops towards the back end, which is a little different than the usual RIS. Very nice smelling stout. I find myself smelling it more that sipping it.

T: Taste mostly follows the smell. I don't get as much chocolate as I would like, lots of toasty malts, with a fair bit of bitter hoppy tang. A very nice imperial stout. The 10% abv is hiden pretty darn well, sneaky actually.

F: Huge for sure, pretty creamy with a kiss of heat. Some lingering bitterness that hangs around a touch too long.

O: A solid Russian Iperial Stout ! With a couple tweaks, it definitely could be a serious competitor.
It may also benefit with age. This was in my fridge for like 1 and half months. I just couldn't wait anymore :-) I Would without question, get more of this. And have a few aged at like 3 and 6 months. Well done Foundation! I hope to grab some more before winter is over.

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Photo of Lonborgski
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12oz can into pint glass
Deep, deep dark true brown, opaque, 1 finger coffee cream head
Smell of burnt sugar
Bitter taste, hops come through a bit
Thick in the mouth, some tang
A winter beer; not really my style

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Forge from Foundation Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 122 ratings