Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Founders Imperial Stout

We have not talked much about Founders Brewing Co., but their Breakfast Stout is one of my favorite everyday craft beers. Founders does a great job and they're just across our northern boarder in Michigan. I figured while watching the IU VS Michigan State game last week, what better beer to celebrate with than the Founders Imperial Stout. This is my favorite style of beer. I pretty much love every single Russian Imperial Stout (RIS) that I've ever had... maybe not quite every one of them but damn near it.

Russian Imperial Stouts have big bold flavors. They have extreme malts, hops and alcohol content. This came from a day when brewers were exporting to northern Europe. Heavy hops (originally a preservative as well as a flavoring) and alcohol both allowed them to transport long distances without spoiling. It was named Imperial, because Russian nobility took a liking to the strong style. You better believe that this kind of brew could keep even a Russian winter chill off you.

Founders Imperial Stout has 10.5% abv and 90 IBUs. It pours dark and heavy black color, with no real head to speak of. There are just wisps of tan crossing the top of the brew. It has a big sweet coffee aroma with hints of coffee and a pretty nice forward bitterness. It is like a giant warning sign saying this beer is not messing around. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

As you might expect this beer is big on flavor. The flavor has strong notes of bitter, sweet chocolate up front. Ther's a hint of bitter coffee that mixes in well with the bitter hops towards the end of the beer. There's a slight roasty, toasty malt flavor throughout the beer that gives it a nice smokiness that is very subtle and helps calm some of the big sweet notes that are so in your face in the beginning of the brew. There's also a pretty nice boozy heat mixed in at the end. It has a nice alcoholic sharpness that, when mixed with the bitterness of the hops, really closes off the beer well.

This is an awesome seasonal release, granted I am always pumped for any RIS but this one sets the bar very high. I keep it marked on my calendar, and so should you (January/February release but it gets harder to find as it gets further into February).

I give it a 4.5

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