Foundation Brewing Company

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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #186
Ranked #3,563
4.16 | pDev: 7.93%
Foundation Brewing Company
Maine, United States
Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 128 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by keithmurray:
Photo of keithmurray
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - dark mahogany body with tan head

Smell - roasted malts, black licorice, dark chocolate

Taste - much like the smell - dark chocolate, black licorice, roasted malts

Mouthfeel - medium bodied, medium carbonation, roasty feel upfront, slightly sweet on the back end, hint of ash

Overall - solid RIS here, hits all the notes that one would want - dark chocolate, solid mouthfeel, no booze on the taste profile. Worth a shot if you like the style.

Price Point - $4.49/16 oz can

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More User Reviews:
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 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 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 pmichaud
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of smcolw
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Even with a vigorous pour, the head is small, settling to rim bubbles. Dark brown color, naturally, but a touch of light does penetrate the center of the glass.

The smell reminds me of a Black Forest Cake with cherries. No notable coffee, just luscious, decadent, and rich chocolate.

The taste mimics the smell, although the body belies the richness promised. The carbonation is muted which helps retain the mouthfeel of an RIS. Despite the 10% abv, there's little alcohol warmth, even in the swallow. The taste starts off like semisweet chocolate nibs. The finish increases the bitterness dramatically with the black patent malt kicking in with the hops. Long aftertaste. Despite the strength, this is a relatively easy-to-drink stout. It's deceptively smooth.

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Photo of ScottP
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of sulldaddy
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Sampling a cellar temp 16 oz can poured into my snifter.
THe beer pours a dark mahogany color with creamy beige head foaming up about 3 cm even with a gentle pour. The pour stream from the can appears lighter than the dark color that rests in my glass after the can is emptied.
Creamy head fades to a sturdy surface layer and leave tight lacing after each sip.

Aroma is lots of dark chocolate, high cacao % type stuff. Gives a bit of roasted note, but not from coffee definitely a chocolate powder note. I also get a little bit of grassy hop character mixed in for balance, and not really any hint of the ABV or boozy notes here on the nose.
First sip reveals a smooth textured medium bodied beer. The carbonation is not assertive and caresses my palate during each sip and swallow. Physical traits make this a beer that is easy to drink, even at 10%.

Flavor is similar to nose, with chocolate dominating the profile. ALthough there is still some diversity as the up front taste is fairly sweet and more like hot chocolate or a candy bar, but this quickly gets overtaken by dark rich chcocolate that lingers with a bit of a dry bite on each swallow. I also get a little bit of dark fruit in the middle, but the hops are absent and the ABV is well hidden.

A nice Imperial Stout that I am enjoying and glad to have a few more cans in the cellar. Nice core beer in an era where adjuncts and BA brews dominate the hype machine. Worth tracking down.

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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 Smakawhat
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the can into a snifter glass. Canned 11/12/2019. Back in Black!!

Deep rich pouring stout, with an excellent uniform dark walnut brown nearly black body color. Creamy forming head, three fingers rich with a light tan appearance. Soft top and small swiss chesse like bubbles round out with slow settling and very good retention. Real nice looking stout.

Very impressive aroma. Thick sensing rich whipped up bitter dark chocolate on the nose. A faint almost berry/strawberry ester perhaps as well, coupled with sweet sensations of soft vanilla, and a warming almost clove like spice. Real impressive.

Palate takes things to some more familiar if not as impressive territory. Great accent on charing on this brew. Deep and light bodied roast, coupled with a real big carbon and charcoal flavor. Hits with bitter char on the end, and some matching berry fruit. Lots of lingering astringency though, pushing it into some real strong lingering black licorice flavors, and an almost steely presence. Runs a bit boozy hot slightly too.

A very impressive stout, but is a bit too aggressive and just a little overly bitter. Still drinks very well but may not be for everybody. Gets better as it settles down and warms up a bit.

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Photo of Ecxeeder616
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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 rab53
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.49/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black with a modest tan head that left some lace.
Roasted malt and chocolate aroma. A bit of coffee.
Taste follows the nose. Chocolate/cocoa, some coffee, a bit of char.
Smooth and easy to drink. Dangerous at 10% ABV.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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 lou50rp
4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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 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 mattycasey
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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 Kelp
3.46/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of jwalters
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

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 wisrarebeer
3.74/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Forge from Foundation Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 128 ratings