Founders Brewing Co – Imperial Stout

So I’ve heard from a few different people that February is stout month.  When I google this fact(?), I really don’t find anything that confirms this premise.  However, until I hear differently, I think I’ll function under the assumption that it is actually stout month.  Maybe it isn’t, but I like the entire idea of it.  Of course, there are somethings I find somewhat surprising about February being stout month.  I mean come on, does no one seriously notice that the darkest beer of all of them happens to also have its month during black history month.  I’m not saying it’s racist or anything, but you have to wonder who made that call.  Secondly, I do really like the decision of February being the month for stouts.  Stouts are definitely one of the particular styles of beers I seek out a little bit more, and I have quite a few different ones in my collection to use this month.  However, with my birthday being in February (today actually), I’m happy my month isn’t something like Framboise month.  I would also be happy with IPA month, but I doubt February was ever really an option for that one.

I decided to start stout month off with the latest dark release from Founders.  I feel like once a month, or more, I end up picking up some quantity of Founders when I’m at the store.  I’ve gotten the Breakfast Stout, Canadian Breakfast Stout, Backwoods Bastard, and Imperial Stout in the past 5 months or so.  I think I always have something Founders in my fridge.  Let’s face it, they make really good beer.  If you have never had anything from Founders you’re definitely missing out.

As I said, I’m no stranger to a dark beer coming out of Founders, but I wanted to check out another one of their great releases.  Checking out what Founders has to say about this release, I’m really happy to see I actually did a pretty good job with their recommendations on this tasting.  They say this one is best enjoyed if it is at cellar temperature.  I definitely had this one in the fridge, but I let it warm a little bit over time.  Some other things they said was this beer is brewed with ten varieties of malted barley.  Sounds good to me.

This beer pours out a with the appearance of a super black oil concoction.  I was actually really interested watching its consistency as it poured out.  It not only looked like oil in the glass, but there was an interesting heaviness to the pour that was like oil as well.  The head is really slow developing, but once the entirety of the pour was over, there was a nice moderate brown head that developed on top of the beer.  This didn’t hang around too long and dissipated rather quickly as well.  The beer is too dark to tell the clarity or the amount of carbonation, but there is definitely really nice lacing that develops on the side of the glass.

There is a ton of chocolate and coffee smells that come off this beer.  It’s not really all that surprising for an imperial stout, but this one had more of a dark chocolate smell to it.  The dark chocolate has a lot of sweetness to it that is definitely brought on by a hefty amount of malts as well.  The coffee sits back a little bit more to allow the chocolate to shine.  I was pretty surprised I didn’t pull more roasted scents out of this one as well.  I am certainly accustomed to some heavy roasting with stouts.  There are some pretty clear hops in here as well that manage to combat the sweetness some.  Looking at the bottle, there is 90 IBUs in the bottle, which seems pretty high for an imperial stout, but I’m pretty psyched about it anyway.  There is some obvious woody oaky aroma here as well.

The first sip really coats your entire mouth with a lot of super thick and sweet dark chocolate.  The sweetness is definitely huge, but it doesn’t manage to become overpowering.  Thankfully, there is some ample coffee flavors that enter in and disrupt some of the sweetness.  The coffee doesn’t overpower too much, but it does provide some great character.  The coffee quickly gives way to those hops we talked about earlier.  The hops don’t come off like and IPA, but they do give some bitterness to the flavor.  They kind of combine with the coffee to help enhance it.  Some very surprising roasted flavors end the tasting.  I really thought they had forgotten about them in here, but I guess I was wrong.  The flavors finish with a lot of roasts and the remaining sweet chocolate flavors.

The mouthfeel is one of the most interesting aspects of this beer.  It is incredibly thick and syrupy at the start, which reminds me of drinking alcoholic chocolate milk.  This probably sounds awful to some of you out there, but it really isn’t.  That is one of the many aspects that makes this a sipping drink for sure.  There is some very light carbonation that allows the syrupy nature to mellow and become even better.  The hops give some nice complexity, and the roasted flavors in the ending are great.

I’m really glad I have two more of these for immediate consumption, but I also have one put in my cellar as well.  I can’t wait to see what the one in the cellar will taste like after some aging.  I’ve seen a bottle of this out at the bar in a few places, or at least in my area, so you can definitely find it.  So go check it out and see if you can find it.  And if you can’t, go find an equally amazing stout to celebrate stout month.

Teacher Grade: A

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4 Comments

  1. Happy Birthday! Nice review. I don’t think I have ever seen this. It sounds right up my alley, though.

  2. Nice review. Wish I could get Founders locally. And Happy Birthday!

  3. Happy birthday, yo!

    I guess it’s time to make a real dent in my overwhelming stockpile of imp stouts. I’ve been hoarding them (with a few exceptions) and maybe this is the month (also my birthday month, 11th) to do it.

    Strange that I have yet to pick up this beer. There’s tons of it at the store around the corner.


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