Monday, March 4, 2013

Founders Brewing Company - Imperial Stout

There are a number of craft breweries that produce a collection stouts (Dark HorseCigar CityBells Brewery), but few rival those being offered by Founders Brewing Company. Their collection of stout is comprised of the obtainable Breakfast Stout and Imperial Stout and the ultra elusive Kentucky Breakfast Stout (aged in oak bourbon barrel) and Canadian Breakfast Stout (aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels). With the Imperial Stout hitting shelves over the past couple of weeks, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try a product within my favorite beer style.
Founders Imperial Stout pours a beautiful, opaque black with no noticeable carbonation both in the beer's body and head. The head that did form was small, slick and wispy leaving quickly following the pour. When held to the light the beer had no ruby hues hugging the glass.
The aroma contained no delectable hop presence. It was comprised of dark chocolate that intensified as the beer warmed. Complimenting this chocolate component was a sweetness that reminded me of molasses. The striking, somewhat unexpected quality of the aroma, booziness, was more powerful than I have experienced in other American versions of Russian Imperial Stout.
This stout contained a very forceful tasting profile. Although forceful, the taste of this stout had a beer-lover's complexity. The initial phase of the taste is a washing of dark chocolate and roasted malts. The hops that were undetectable in the aroma provide a popping hop-bite finish during the second wave of the tasting profile. The combination of malts and hops bring out a subtle tobacco/smokey quality that worked very well with the other ingredients. The finish was very fulfilling because each ingredient was identifiable and lingered on the palate activating multiple sensory receptors.
At 10.5%ABV, this stout is pushing stylistic guidelines, but the alcohol apparent in the aroma is not as prominent as in the tasting. With many malts used to create this beer, the mouthfeel is silky and velvety with just the right amount of chewiness. Enjoy this stout as an after supper dessert, but sip patiently and the beer will open up allowing the flavors to balance appropriately. For the stout lovers, Founders Imperial Stout is a must try; Seek and Enjoy!


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