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Founders CBS Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Founders CBS Imperial StoutFounders CBS Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,266 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2266
Reviews: 752
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 10.09%

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  10.60% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: CRJMellor on 02-01-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,266 | Reviews: 752 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of fewa


1.28/5  rDev -72.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

This must be the most unbalanced beer I ever had. My fillings jumped out of my teeth because of the sweetness. No depth, just sugary maple syrup with the smell of 5-day-old coffee. Reminds me a bit of Peche Mortel on a bad day with diet sugar in it. I’ll take KBS over this overhyped stuff any day! After Darklord, Darkness and KtG, another huge overly sweet letdown from the USA. Drain pour. Hype hype hype

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 12:29:28 | More by fewa
Photo of MADhombrewer


2.2/5  rDev -52.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Thanks to Black13 for this.

A- Black. Very little head. No lacing. 4/5

Smell- Ashy aroma but not much else. 2/5

Taste- Ashy as well. Little smoke but after that it is a bit funky. Weird taste. 2/5

Mouthfeel- Eh. Medium mouthfeel. 3/5

Overall- Not really good at all. Not interesting and too ashy for my taste. Very one sided. Drain pour. 2/5

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2012 04:16:45 | More by MADhombrewer
Photo of AleWatcher


3/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Shared by Whitemomba-- thanks Jason!

Deep reddish hues in the legs and on the edges... Sand colored dark tan head. Nice thick legs. Huge chunks of spotty lace.

Smells like coffee. Coffee rules the nose here, but where's the maple syrup action?
Coffee rocks the flavor too... Very boozy, with roasted coffee flavor, some sweet malt, and a big coffee-flavored boozy bite.
This is nowhere near as good as I remember it being on tap-- too boozy, too much coffee (I like coffee, but this reminds me of "stale" coffee-- not fresh and strong).
Pretty thick feel-- but it's oily and slick.
Overall, this is NOT the same beer I remembered. I'm actually pretty disappointed in this one. It isn't "bad," but it is not "world class."

WAAAY too hot on the back end. (and bear in mind, I like big stouts. I'm not some BMC guy on his 4th review).

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2011 04:53:16 | More by AleWatcher
Photo of LilBeerDoctor

New York

3.18/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 6/27/2010. On tap at Founders. Pours black with a ring of tan head. Aroma of bourbon and sticky sweet roasted malt. Flavor of bourbon up front and lots of sweetness. Much sweeter than the KBS which must be due to the maple but I don't actually taste the maple sugar specifically, just a general sweetness. The bourbon also stands out more to me in this one. I had high hopes for this one and thought it would be better than KBS but it wasn't for me.

Serving type: on-tap

12-24-2010 00:49:46 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of Schmittymack


3.33/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a very near black with a small head. Aromas of coffee, maple syrup, roasted malt, with a touch of vanilla. Taste was coffee, maple syrup, roasted malt, and bourbon. I hope to try this again on a clean palate as I was hoping/expecting more from the hype: good but not great in my humble opinion.

Serving type: on-tap

10-11-2010 03:55:10 | More by Schmittymack
Photo of byrdman16


3.5/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally....I got my hands on one of these bad boys and I didn't even have to pay 50+ bucks for it on e-bay! Pretty good overall. Poured like motor oil with little head and lacing. Good nose to this one, I picked up more on the chocolate rather than the coffee, maple syrup, or bourbon. Big heavy SWEET beer. This thing was a dessert beer for sure...It tasted like a shot of hershey's chocolate syrup. Alcohol was hidden very well, considering the 10.6% EtOH content. Overall it was a good beer BUT I'm not big on big sweet syrup beers so...I am glad that I can say that I've tried it, but not my fav. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2011 03:55:12 | More by byrdman16
Photo of champ103


3.5/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes. Many thanks to whoever brought this to one of our BA tastings a while back.

A: Pitch black, glupy, and resinous liquid pours into my snifter. At first a two finger rocky, bubbly head forms and recedes in a second. No lace, no retention. Pretty standard for a huge stout.
S: Bourbon, wood, charcoal, maple syrupy. Burnt acrid coffee. Milk chocolate. lots going on in the nose.
T: Again, lots going on here. Big bourbon and boozy flavors. Charred wood, burnt coffee, sticky sweet maple syrupy. A lot to get my head around.
M/D: A full body that is thick and resinous. Low carbonation and very sticky. Lots of alcohol for sure, and lots going on. One I have to take slow. Though overall a nice sipper.

I do like this, like everything else from Founders. Ultra complex, but ultimatly that seems like the downfall for me. To much going on for me to really sit back and enjoy. Very much in the realm of Black Tuesday and even Utopias. Like those beers, one I don't really crave that much.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2012 14:14:59 | More by champ103
Photo of DrHopHead


3.53/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I wasn't as impressed with this beer as I am of the KBS. Founders makes some great beers and I am not knocking it, but it wasn't as good as I had expected. The Frangelic Mountain is like heaven in a glass though. Keep making great beers Founders and to all the great breweries in Michigan!!!!

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2013 20:10:39 | More by DrHopHead
Photo of Etan


3.53/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Bottle shared by Oscar and Caitlin, into a snifter.

A. Black with some woody tones, and a small tan head.

S. Thick chocolate, mint-like note, light oak and vague coffee.

T. More chocolate, licorice, hint of coffee, anise, caramel, sugar.

M. Thick-bodied with light carbonation.

O. The only thing that hasn't faded is the chocolate, which leaves the beer quite sweet. No bourbon, no maple, barely any coffee. Some licorice/anise flavors have also developed, which isn't really good.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2013 06:17:44 | More by Etan
Photo of beagle75


3.58/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Opaque black color with one finger of diminishing beige foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Coffee is immediately evident, followed by reedy wood and intense vanilla. Coffee fades somewhat as the beer warms, replaced by dark and rustic grain. Some pure bourbon is also present, although the smell is only slightly boozy.

T: Begins off-dry, with aggressive carbonic acidity and dark chocolate. Flavors sweeten into the middle alongside potent anise that dominates the palate for a few beats. The finish begins to dry out, allowing for husky roasted malt and freshly-ground coffee to close the profile on an earthy and moderately bitter note. Hints of bourbon and vanilla linger on the palate, but essentially no alcohol is detected.

M: Thick viscosity, syrupy and slightly acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This beer exhibits powerful sensory qualities, even for an imperial stout. It is also a bit of a mess, although the end result is palatable. Founders KBS can be wildly inconsistent from bottle to bottle; this value-added rendition comes across as an average effort on the KBS scale--neither a disappointment nor a home run.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2012 02:55:27 | More by beagle75
Photo of JDizzle


3.6/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I drank this bomber on New Years Eve. I had been holding on to this gem for a little while. I was about to be let down....

Poured into a Snifter that looked quite well. Really dark with browish hints and a big mocha colored head. Looks mighty tasty! I was about to jump out of my skin from the hype train to try this beer!

Uhh... I thought this was aged in maple bourbon barrels?? I have had all the other maple BB aged beers at the brewpub and know what wonderful flavor comes from them, on lesser beer!! This was not even close. The only aroma I got after almost snorting this thing is MOCHA! Basically a mix of light coffee and chocolate. Not cool

The taste was the biggest let down. It was all over the place. Just a blended mess of chocolate, coffee, extreme sweetness, and a hint of wood and vanilla. I could not get any of the maple I got from all the other killer beers they have released before this one. It tasted like Mokah from Souther Tier, which is good-but easy as hell to find.

Mouthfeel was solid and the carbonation was spot on for a stout.

Overall I was really disapointed from a beer I had been dying to try for years. I still have not had it on tap and can't wait to try. I adore Founders and will seek this out on tap to see if it changes my mind.

Edit-had it on tap and it was the same. Really wanted to like this, but O'well!!!

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2012 03:25:04 | More by JDizzle
Photo of mulder1010


3.63/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to readbaron for the bottle, Spicelab for bringing it back to Australia, Mrkennedy for opening it and me for setting this whole puppy up.

A-- Poured a dark cola and settled black. One finger light brown head that stayed at film through drinking. Impressive looking beer and good lacing. Nice spotty lacing as went through this.

S-- Coffee fading?? Really?? Tons of coffee in this. Lots of green pepper in this. Thought I was smelling a cab at some point. Big, bold coffee nose followed by waves of maple syrup, bourbon and more coffee. Impressive smell as so wine like in a lot of ways.

T-- Hey, even more coffee. What a shocker. Waves of bourbon and maple syrup. Short lived waves as very dominated by coffee. Oppressive coffee taste at times.

M-- Thick, rich, luscious and decedant. Just a solid beer. Low carbonation and full feel. Needed more bourbon and maple syrup feel. Mostly coffee and more coffee.

O-- good but not brilliant. Overload on coffee in a big way. Lacks balance and needed more bourbon notes and maple syrup. Easy to drink even with the coffee harshness.
Quite overhyped as out of balance

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2012 16:26:58 | More by mulder1010
Photo of baconsausage


3.73/5  rDev -20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the second time I have had this beer, and I think it was better the fist time.

Thick dark pour with thin tan head. Aromas of maple, bourbon and milk chocolate abound. The taste follows suite, adding a bit of cold coffee to the mix. And then a charcoal, burnt woodiness that I find very off putting, and was arguably not in the first bottle I had. This astringent like flavor kinda ruins this for me. Beer has great mouthfeel, coating the palate with creaminess and a little heat from the booze.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2011 13:37:52 | More by baconsausage
Photo of bnes09


3.75/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ink black stout with a light tan colored head. Solid, sticky retention and sticks to the glass well. Lighter color head than expected but exceptional retention for the style.

Dark and sweet aromas. Lots of maple, hint of bourbon and some figs.

Deeply sweet malt flavor. Complex maple, dark fruit and molasses sweetness up front. Chocolate character comes in mid-drink and dominates the rest of the way. Mild coffee flavor provides a bitter balance. Not too much to say about the hops, they are really over-powered by the malt and maple syrup. Not bad, just too sweet for my taste.

Thick and syrupy body. Sticky. Mildly carbonated. Feel is slick with a syrupy stickiness.

Not bad. Very complex flavor. Just sweeter than I like my stouts.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2011 05:26:31 | More by bnes09
Photo of aasher


3.8/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a full bodied midnight black with dark brown highlights and a beige lacing around my glass. It smells like a Breakfast Stout, a lot of bitter coffee with moderate chocolate. I don't get any bourbon notes at all. The flavors featured are very sweet maple syrup, smooth chocolates, and bitter coffee. It's really not that complex and is overly sweet. It's a maple bomb. I wish it was far more subdued. It drinks medium to full in body. It's a nice drinker but its sooo sweet. It's holding it back. As it stands this beer is vastly overrated and inferior when compared to FBS and KBS. Recognize.

Edit: After having both this and Wide Awake It's Morning, I'm sure the two are related. It makes me want to try the Maple Bacon Coffee Porter to see if it's in the middle.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2011 00:15:06 | More by aasher
Photo of ne0m00re


3.83/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Live review of a 750 mL bottle.
A: Pitch black with a dark tan head that settles with an OK lacing.
S: Maple and fig, milk chocolate, very smooth bourbon, slight hint of coffee, vanilla oak and some raspberry. Somewhat medicinal, it kind of comes together like smokey maple fire.
T: Medicinal or mentholated in the finish, almost like chocolate mints. The onset and slow build is an interesting mix of chocolate, maple, and creamy bourbon, almost like Irish cream in coffee. It is slightly sweet with a medicinal cherry finish, with little notice given to any citrus hops. It's OK.
M: Thicker, with a creamy carbonation that slowly breaks to the crisp mentholated with a sweetness that lingers on your teeth.
O: Pretty good. The aroma offsets the taste. I'd like to try this on tap--and I wouldn't mind trying it again--but I'd rather have KBS or BORIS.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2012 23:33:20 | More by ne0m00re
Photo of phisigben


3.88/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Severed in a snifter it pours a nice dark mocha colored head that linger that leaves great lacing, near the edges it isn't exactly a very dark color its almost a dark reddish brown. I smell a good coffee flavor, boozy smell that I would contribute to the bourbon barrel, and very disappointingly a very faint maple. The coffee flavor is good not great, and the bourbon flavor is good but the maple flavor is very muted almost like the coffee over powers the maple flavor. The mouth feel is good its slick and slightly oily. I had this beer a year ago at the brewery and it was the most fantastic beer I ever had, this isnt that beer. I don't know if they changed the recipe or something but I was very let down by this in a bottle. Dont get me wrong this is a solid beer but I can think of several other stouts that I would much rather have.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2011 14:24:15 | More by phisigben
Photo of writerLJBerg


3.88/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle courtesy of JMRSN. Thanks!

A: Pure black. 1/2" mocha head which stays fluffy throughout. Nice legs on the glass. No reason to dock points here.

S: Chocolate, smoke, brown sugar, molasses, and espresso. Also quite enjoyable.

T: Milk chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla, and caramel. Coconut is probably the dominant flavor, but it clashes with the maple syrup. Complex, but not my cup of beer.

M: Full and excellent. No complaints here.

O: I can see why people really enjoy this, but it doesn't really go beyond that level for me. Then again, I'm no fan of FBS, and I'm not a huge fan of KBS, so I was expecting to be nonplussed. So it was nice this is a very good beer, but it's not something I imagine I'd seek again. Founder's RIS reigns supreme, in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2012 21:48:37 | More by writerLJBerg
Photo of Kadonny


3.9/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I never wrote up my review from my taste at the CAH in Limerick a few weeks ago. I got there late that day and was only able to secure a 4 ounce pour into a tasting glass, still I was glad to at least try it.

A: A dark brown almost black thick liquid with almost no head on the pour. No glass lacing.

S: I got the maple smell immediately and noticed how much swetter the nose was than the KBS. Also smells of roasted coffee and dark chocolate.

T: The maple syrupy taste comes out first in the sweetness of the beer. Sweet maple with caramel malt get pushed aside by the roasted coffee/espresso flavors with dark chocolate flavors and a hint of vanilla, oak and some bourbon. A slight hop tinge is felt but the sweetness of the maple comes back in at the end to finish out. This is really a complex beer that needs to be drank a bit warmer to open it up. Alcohol heat comes in at the end too.

M: Full, coating, sweet with a decent alcohol kick. Very smooth though.

D: Medium at best. This one was just a tad bit sweet for me.

I have drank a fair amount of the Breakfast Stout line from Founders, so for me there is no question I tasted the maple right up front. Others seemed that they could not really taste it, I for sure could. This is a solid beer, but for me the KBS is much better. I love KBS so much and for me is the perfect blend of sweet and roast. This one bends a bit more on the sweeter side, not my bag. Still a very good beer that is rare as hell and I'm extremely happy I got to try it.

Serving type: on-tap

08-17-2009 20:34:41 | More by Kadonny
Photo of PDXHops

South Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap in a shaker pint. Near black with mahogany highlights. Wispy head that manages to leave spotty lacing here and there.

With apologies to regular Breakfast Stout, this is what breakfast should smell like: chocolate chip pancakes with maple syrup and a pot of coffee. All that's missing is a side of bacon. Flavors are nicely integrated, with only a surprising bitterness and strong coffee disrupting the general smooth, sweet flow. Just enough roast to keep sweetness, maple and otherwise, in check. Medium-thick and pretty smooth. Good stuff.

Serving type: on-tap

03-01-2011 01:26:49 | More by PDXHops
Photo of DovaliHops


3.9/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick, black liquid with a very tan, mocha-colored, thick head. Scent is initially maple syrup with sweet chocolate. A LOT of chocolate. Perhaps some marshmallow? Vanilla and oak with just a bit of bourbon. A little anise as well. A fantastic nose on this beer! Taste is somewhat of a letdown however. Don't get me wrong, it's a very tasty beer, just had my hopes set higher. Initially sweet chocolate and coffee. Then I get bitter chocolate with some maple syrup and light vanilla. The maple syrup is more noticeable as the beer warms. Finishes slightly bitter with some black licorice. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with a syrupy finish. This is a big beer with ABV well-hidden. Drinkability is fairly high. Overall, I'm so glad I got to try this. I was just a little let down, as it was not as good as KBS IMO.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2012 05:44:59 | More by DovaliHops
Photo of ffejherb


3.93/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Capone's on 8/15/09.

A - Dark oily black body with a thin tan ring that quickly receded to an almost non-existent patch.

S - Maple character is quite subtle, surprisingly. Vanilla presence, however, is not as meek. Same goes for chocolate. Some woody notes and hints of coffee also emerge. Overall, the nose is quite sweet yet subtle.

T - Lots of vanilla sweetness in the initial flavor, with an understated maple syrup presence. It's there, but it's quite restrained. Flavor is very chocolatey, caramely and sweet with hints of coffee beans, the latter of which adds a tinge of bitterness. Overall, the vanilla dominates the flavor.

M - Full bodied and thick with a rich, luscious texture and slick mouthfeel, which allows the liquid to literally glide down the throat with ease. Carbonation is pretty subtle and provides only a hint of prickle on the tongue. Finishes quite sweet on the palate.

D - Don't get me wrong. CBS is a very good beer, no doubt about it. However, in the eschelon of Founder's Breakfast Stout brews, this is clearly on the bottom. While it is a fine brew in itself, it is the lesser Breakfast Stout, in my opinion.

Serving type: on-tap

09-06-2009 16:57:41 | More by ffejherb
Photo of hrking


3.93/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I've had this one 2-3 times at the GTMW and at The Peach in downtown Muncie. If you want to come close to this one just take a Breakfast Stout and stir in a tablespoon of maple syrup. This is an interesting beer and I am glad I had the privilege of being able to try it.Founders does some amazing things with their brews and they never leave me disappointed. So if you've had a breakfast Stout just imagine the same thing with a maple syrup addition!

Serving type: on-tap

12-26-2009 17:25:38 | More by hrking
Photo of Lillie1128


3.93/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours jet black with a dark mocha head

S - Coffee overpowered by bourbon

T - Really bourbon-y. The maple syrup is pretty apparent throughout and there's a hint of coffee at the end

M - Pretty thick and syrupy, heavy-bodied

Honestly, I'm not as impressed as I thought I would be. I mean, it's pretty good, but I just didn't get that "wow" I thought it would. It's still a solid brew though.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2011 23:48:26 | More by Lillie1128
Photo of maximum12


3.95/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Man, I hate to be the first one to rain on the CBS parade down a confetti-filled street in downtown Manhattan, but I wasn't wowwwwed by it like everyone else seems to be.

Had a small glass at Stub & Herb's last night at the Founder's release party. Pitch black. Nose quiet but intriguing with the correctly advertised smells.

Taste is subtle coffee with a lot of backing sweet malts, tangled up with the hint of maple that I might not have picked out if not for the blurb in front of me. A little vanilla, just a hint of bourbon, a few puppy dogs tails thrown in for good measure. Lots of stuff going on, but all fairly subtle, & the overall taste was good, not spectacular.

Hard to judge drinkability by the small serving, but I could have easily downed a pint of this, so that's good, right (I mean good score, not good that I didn't, since I had to back out of the parking lot where some ass had parked me in, but that's another story...).

Overall a very good beer. Personally I'd take the regular Breakfast Stout or KBS over the CBS, but glad I had a chance to try it, & if it shows up in the Cities again, I'll go have another glass.

Serving type: on-tap

05-21-2009 23:43:15 | More by maximum12
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Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,266 ratings.