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And the Valley Drinks: Founders Imperial Stout

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Now this'll stick to your ribs.

Billy Gomila

As the last of the tiny bit of cold weather that we actually received in Louisiana passes us by, stout season -- if you believe in seasonal beers that is -- is passing us by.

Here's one that'll fill up your taste for the style of beer for some time. Along with filling up your stomach.

Founders Imperial Stout

Brewed with ten varieties of malted barley, this stout is smooth as silk, yet complex and rich in body. Serve this guy at cellar temperature. Put another log on the fire, sit back and enjoy the friendship of this ultimate winter warmer.

Rich ain't the word for this one. I'd almost call it meaty. Yeah, most stouts are heavy, but what differentiates an imperial from the other kinds? Basically an imperial stout (typically the Russian Imperial varietyis a stout on steroids. Thicker, richer, with a more complex flavor profile and a higher alcohol content -- although not one that you would typically taste the way you do in a bourbon barrel-aged beer.

Founders certainly hit that mark with this one, which is dramatically heavier, even more so than the Breakfast Stout, which is pretty rich on its own but just balanced enough to last. A 12-oz bottle is about all you'll want of this beer in a sitting.

Review

This beer never hides what you're in for, with a thick, milk-chocolate colored head and a heavy pour that's almost syrup-py. And the bouquet gives you a lot, with notes of coffee, chocolate, caramel and a bit of a woodsy flavor, almost like a hearth fire. The opening is a bit neutral for like a half of a second, but that thick texture rolls over your tongue and you can almost feel the roasted malts. There are some nibs of cocoa, never enough to really taste sweet but just enough to cut the bitterness of the roasted, coffee-like flavor. Perfectly indicative of this style of beer. 10.5 percent alcohol by volume. Give it a good 4 out of 5 stars.