If Its a Favorite, Its a Founders
A Review of Founders Imperial Stout by Founders Brewing Co.
Posted on 6/3/2011 by Brew's Your Daddy
                   
Exquisite
Sometimes you need to spoil yourself. It could be as simple as rewarding yourself for doing well on something, or it could be as easy as giving yourself a treat because you just deserve it. I have had one of those weeks where I actually deserved both. That being said, its not easy in the beer world to find a beverage that qualifies as a reward, and a treat, and pretty much everything you could ever want in a glass. When one finds magical brew that easily fills all those slots, it becomes what most of us know as a personal favorite. Well allow me to introduce you to one of my all time favorites, the Founders Imperial Stout.

When you pour this beer into a glass, its not hard to see why its an imperial. It comes out of the bottle a rich black color, along with a dark mocha head. There's no need to hold it up to the light. Take my word for it, no light is going to pass through. The first thing you notice when you smell it is the wonderful separation of aromas. I'm not sure if one should attribute this trait to it being an imperial stout, or the fact that it's a Founders product. I tend to lean heavily on the Founders product side. In any event, its always a pleasure when you can easily pick out all the good smells floating out of the glass. To me, the first thing I detect is a light and creamy caramel smell. Just looking at it, you wouldn't think there was anything light about this beer. So right off the bat, its already toying with you. After you get past the caramel, you can easily pick out the bittersweet chocolate and coffee tones. As you walk on down the aroma trail, you can pick up on dark cherries, hops, and even a burnt oak smell. That burnt oak actually lends itself to a light layer of smoke calmly covering everything in the glass ever so gently.

It takes a few minutes of enjoying the look and smell of this beer before you realize that you actually still have to drink it. I don't know how they do it, but when you take that first drink, you don't get caramel at all. You are greeted by the taste of bittersweet chocolate. And while you are letting the first sip greet you, something very unexpected happens. You physically feel the bite of the hops, alcohol and carbonation on your tongue. Its almost like this beer is biting you back. Its a very rare, but always enjoyable mouthfeel. The alcohol isn't overpowering, but it does present itself as the most dominant taste when you are getting bitten. And then when all the aggression dies down, you get your typical imperial stout taste. Rich and chocolatey malts blended with a bold premium coffee. And just when you think you have had all of the flavors this one has to offer, the aftertaste pops up. It only slightly changes, but at the end it turns to burnt coffee and smoky malts. Just an amazing journey through a forest of wonderful flavors.

I could go on and on about the intricacies of this beer. It would be a breeze to do. But occasionally a beer comes along that almost begs me to shut up with all my fancy terms and descriptions. It just sits there in the glass and dares you to do nothing more than pick it up, and experience it on your own terms. I can't recommend this beer to any beginners. You're just not ready. Its as simple as that. But to all the pros, I wouldn't hesitate at all when telling you that this beer is a must try. Simply put, Founders Imperial Stout doesn't set the bar. It raises it.

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Founders Imperial Stout by Founders Brewing Co.
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