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The Beer Circle » Cellar, Founders Brewing Co., Imperial Stout » Cellar: Founders Imperial Stout

Cellar: Founders Imperial Stout

Today I’m continuing my trend of pulling some Founders stuff out of the cellar. Thursday I looked at Founders’ KBS after one year in the basement, and next up is their Imperial Stout. I have always been a big fan of this beer (which is basically the case for all stouts made by Founders). This and Founders Breakfast Stout really helped me make the jump into the wide world of stouts, and surely either don’t hurt to have around for trades. The “2011” vintage was bottled in late 2010, and the 2012 vintage was bottled in December of 2011. The ratings below represent the cellared version.

Founders Imperial Stout 2011 and 2012
The 2011 pours out of the bottle with only a very thin light brown head, while the 2012 forms a beautiful, large brown head. Neither has a great retention, but the 2012 laces much more nicely. For both, the beer sits a motor oil black in the glass.
The aromas have really similar qualities, but the 2011 has developed really well. The 2011 is big on dark chocolate, and features molasses and booze. Only a really small amount of roast, if any at all, remains. In terms of the 2012, coffee and roast play a much larger role. The booze and molasses level on each are pretty much the same which makes sense considering they have the same ABV, but it works a bit better in the 2011. The 2012 by contrast, seems to be a little bit more disjointed, though perhaps it's just bigger overall.
Starting with the 2011, the chocolate is definitely the focus. Undercut by some alcohol, the taste is sweet and surprisingly has a really roasty finish. The 2012 is certainly a better put together beer. The chocolate is still the base, but the coffee and roast really assert themselves nicely. The added roast seems to have covered up the alcohol. Still sweet, the fresher taste is better in my opinion.
Both are really thick, with the 2011 boasting a more boozy feeling. The 2012 had a much dryer finish and a more pleasant mouthfeel overall. Both were still pretty drinkable, but 24oz of 10.50% ABV beer did wear on my palate after a bit.
I've seen a decent amount of price variation on the imperial stout, but not on the level of KBS. You're typically looking at under $20 for a four pack, which I don't hesitate to pay.
This is a really phenomenal beer and is a great representation of the style. I think it aged pretty well, but it still tastes better fresh. I do have a few 2011 left, so we'll see how it holds up. I'd say drink it fresh and don't look back!

2011 (Left) and 2012 (Right)

Beer Stats
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Serving: Bottle
Size: 12oz
ABV: 10.50%
BA Score: 95
RB Score: 100

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Written by Russ Beck

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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