1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Founders CBS Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Founders CBS Imperial StoutFounders CBS Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,263 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2263
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
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 2,263 | Reviews: 752 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of tipfortap

New York

4.19/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

5 words to describe it: Tobacco, Barrel, Bourbon, Licorice, Coffee

Paired it with: KBS

Should have paired it with: A crazy creamy brie; dark chocolate

Drink it if you like: Imperial anything, Baltic Porters, checking big boxes off your life to do list

A few other thoughts: It tasted basically nothing like what I expected it to, and I think it has peaked. Many people talk about the maple flavor really falling off after a couple of months, and I think that was the case here. It was so much funkier than I imagined— I got a lot of the oak of the barrel, as well as sort of anise and licorice flavors. As it warmed up, it got much more interesting— too cold out of the tap, it was hops, booze, and tobacco in one big slam. I keep thinking about how distinctive it was, but I am not sure that means I loved it. Basically like reading the Iliad.

Serving type: on-tap

05-23-2013 19:32:21 | More by tipfortap
Photo of weonfire


4.3/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed this on tap at Holy Grale in Louisville, Ky in a 10 oz snifter.

A - Dark Brown, zero light penetrates through, murky, light mocha head - pencil thin - small amount remains around rim for a few minutes.

S - Heavy maple, chocolate, vanilla, toffe, smoke, and a real boozy rum.

T - Initial: sweet maple, vanilla and toffee, Finish: is a mild roast, smoke and a bit boozy.

M - Full body, thick, Creamy, real frothy, high viscosity, touch of that elusive velvet.

O - Tastes much better than the nose. Nose is way more boozy than I was expecting. Also, I think this is bit too sweet for me- simply too rich. Too much maple- almost taste a rum flavor. Love the smoothness, mouth is excellent but not is nice as KBS.

Serving type: on-tap

04-25-2013 00:23:55 | More by weonfire
Photo of wramshaw

Ontario (Canada)

5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Loved this well over a year ago in the taproom and in one of the 2 bottles I was able to find in Kalamazoo back the day it was released a year and a half ago I think really looking forward to opening the other bottle. Might wait until I get some KBS at the end of the month

Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2013 21:41:33 | More by wramshaw
Photo of justyouraveragebeerguy


4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap at founders 15th anniversary party

A- Pitch black, no light can pass through this monster. A finger of a mocha/kacki head.

S- Wow. Big vanilla, molasses, dark chocolate, coffee, some sweetness coming through

Taste- Exactly how it smells. Right up front you get a sweetness immediately cut with a roasted coffee bitterness. Big vanilla, molasses and dark chocolate notes. The roast and coffee come through later on.

O- I really don't know what more you can ask from a BA stout. This beer is absolutely amazing. By far the best beer I have ever had.

Serving type: on-tap

02-26-2013 04:17:03 | More by justyouraveragebeerguy
Photo of ryanfolty


4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Date: April 9, 2012 Mode: Tap Source: Tilia Description: Opaque black pour with some head and great lacing. Aroma bourbon, chocolate, maple and coffee. Starts with a slap in the face of bourbon that lingers as the chocolate and coffee come rolling in, the bourbon then gives way to a sweet delicious maple that is not too strong, before finishing with some more bourbon. Founders how do you do that voodoo that you do so well? Wow, this is amazing, lives up to the hype and then some!!!

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2013 23:21:10 | More by ryanfolty
Photo of vfgccp

New York

4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Midnight black. Khaki head sits low with ok lace and retention.

S - Pure and unbelievably rich dark chocolate, caramel, black coffee, and vanilla.

T - Godiva dark chocolate truffles, vanilla, caramel, outstanding oatmeal notes, toffee, and espresso. This is everything it's cracked up to be. Soft maple note on the backend.

M - Stupidly smooth and incredibly rich. Bitter sweet chocolate melting in your mouth.

O - This was stellar on tap. One of the best beers I've ever had.

Serving type: on-tap

11-30-2012 00:28:16 | More by vfgccp
Photo of liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Founders 15th Anniversary Party, served in a snifter MANY times over.

Black with a medium brown head, leaves a ring of retention and dense lacing. Nose of hazelnut, light maple, bourbon, cocoa and bakers chocolate. Taste has more bourbon, maple, chocolate, rum soaked raisins and more hazelnut. Mouthfeel is medium heavy, but not as heavy as I expected. Great flavour all around - the highlight of the anniversary party, end up having about half a dozen servings of this.

Serving type: on-tap

11-22-2012 18:11:45 | More by liamt07
Photo of TheBeerTruck


5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tapped at the brewery during their 15th Anniversary Party on 11-17-12. Most times, it runs out before everyone in the bar gets some, but not this time. It was on for around three hours...the first time. They brought it back again in the evening. Most people were ordering two and sometimes three glasses. I was able to enjoy four while enjoying the party.

Served in a snifter, which was held for a bit so it could warm up, it poured beautifully dark, rich, thick and with a great caramel colored head.

After warming up a little, all the expected aromas of chocolate, coffee and vanilla were there though the maple sweetness was a little thin.

The taste was just as I remembered. In my personal experience, the maple is the first flavor to fade. Expecting that, I wasn't let down that it was a little faint. All the other flavors reflected exacted what the nose displayed and was great swish after swish with an unbiting explosion of been too long flavor.

Overall - like I said...I had four.

Serving type: on-tap

11-21-2012 04:32:22 | More by TheBeerTruck
Photo of JimsArcade


4.1/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A review of the 2011 vintage sampled on 9/29/12.

Pours midnight black with no head to speak of. Aromas of caramel, booze, hot chocolate, and fresh coffee burst from the glass. Flavors of oak and whiskey dominate with a hint of stale coffee. The booziness is subdued after aging but for some reason I find it less drinkable compared to fresh offerings.

I've had this fresh out of a bottle and now aged in a keg. I prefer the fresher variety, though my scores would not move up much. All-in-all this is a great barrel-aged stout, but there are better examples of the style out there, including from Founders itself.

Serving type: on-tap

10-01-2012 21:26:25 | More by JimsArcade
Photo of stoutluvr420


5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap @ TPT. Poured a deep, dark brown- one shade away from black- with a nice, lasting head of dark tan foam. The aroma was loaded with fresh bourbon spiked coffee- lots of heavy roasted notes, and also a subtle woody sweetness of maple syrup. The flavor was also heavy on the coffee, just like the regular Breakfast Stout. Complimenting this was a smooth vanilla-maple sweetness, oat creaminess, and oak woodyness. The bourbon, coffee, and chocolate are so bold, that the maple really adds some nice depth and contrast. The mouthfeel was full-bodied and had light carbonation. Sweet, sticky, smooth heavenly viscus liquid. Damn.

Serving type: on-tap

09-17-2012 01:07:33 | More by stoutluvr420
Photo of gonzowestwood


4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap at 'Rattle n Hum'

A- Dark, Dark, dark black color with thin chocolate head that lasts forever (4.5)
S- Booze, Maple Pancakes, brown Sugar, dark coffee/malts. This is were the beer shines (5)
T- I get a lot of maple, some dark coffee, a little bourbon and a nice burp of vanilla (4.5)
M- A nice creamy texture and it attacks the front of your tung. Gets much more boozy as its warms up (4)
O- Pretty good. Is it the best stout on earth? Idk. I've had KBS, Abyss, Bourbon County, Stone, and Speedway. I truly think that Goose Island's 'Bourbon County' is the best out there, but thats my Opinion. . . Man. Still a Really good beer (4.5)

Serving type: on-tap

08-09-2012 03:50:24 | More by gonzowestwood
Photo of GameFreac


5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage on tap at the Brick Store Pub for the Breakfast Yard Sale - May 19, 2012. 8 oz pour.

Appearance: Pours a midnight black with a brownish small khaki head.

Smell: Smells of chocolate, maple syrup, slight alcohol, and sweetness.

Taste - Taste mirrors the nose - maple syrup, hershey's chocolate syrup. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: Thick and perfect for this beer.

Overall: This is better than FBS and is now the best beer I've ever had by far.

Serving type: on-tap

05-19-2012 23:45:15 | More by GameFreac
Photo of mjshearer1


5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Founders' 2012 Black Party.

A - Oily, black, and thick. Just how I like my imperials.

S - Huge coffee, chocolate, bourbon, and a sweetness that had to be the maple syrup.

T - Everything I've ever wanted it to be. I've been trying to track this stuff down for a while now, wasn't able to get it in the bottles, but held out hope that it'd make an appearance at the Black Party, and it didn't disappoint. This is basically a sweeter KBS on account of the maple syrup, with all that smooth, warm, choco-coffee goodness we've all come to know and love.

M - Smooth and silky to the point of danger.

O - One of the best beers I've ever had. It certainly lives up to it's hype.

Serving type: on-tap

05-07-2012 20:21:26 | More by mjshearer1
Photo of Beerdregs


4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the happy gnome during mind erasing, founders spectacular.

A: Black, opaque with minimal mocha brown head.

S: Aroma is of mainly chocolate and oak. As the beer warms I start to pick up maple syrup.

T: Deep, dark rich chocolate with hints of maple syrup as it begins to warm.

M: Velvety and rich with slight alcohol burn

O: This was such a treat. I've wanted to try this beer for quite awhile. I didn't think I'd ever get a chance to procure a bottle much less have it on tap. Excellent stout!

Serving type: on-tap

04-11-2012 02:08:41 | More by Beerdregs
Photo of deebo


4.05/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had a couple 6 oz pours from a freshly tapped kegged at Tilia in Minneapolis.

A-Appearance is black with a creamy tan layered filmy head that laces the glass.

S-Toasted barley malt, coffee, with a definite maple like sweetness. A rich aroam but not overpowering. Some vapory alcohol in the nose.

T-Reminds me of Breakfast stout with a lot more added flavors and sweetness. The added quality of a lingering maple sweet finish is very noticeable.

M-Just a hint of alcohol warming in the finish. Heavy bodied, lightly carbonated, quite creamy.

D-Not appropriate for more than sipping and savoring all that is going on in this beer.

O-Great complexity with a long non-bittering finish. This feels like a breakfast beer, would go great with a hearty breakfast or pairs well with dessert. This was a fun beer to try.

Serving type: on-tap

04-11-2012 00:40:41 | More by deebo
Photo of sepharious


4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The Perfect Imperial Stout.
Yep, that's right. I dare someone to call me on this. If there were ever a more perfect marriage of flavors it was surely not a beer. The combination of dark chocolate, bourbon, and maple syrup flavors produces feelings in my brain that only one other activity can. It is liquefied sex in a barrel. I had the distinct pleasure to enjoy it at the brewery so it was at its very finest and it is something I'll remember forever. Try this beer, find it and try it as soon as you can. Or let it age and see what wonderful places it's likely to go.

Serving type: on-tap

03-26-2012 08:48:11 | More by sepharious
Photo of DCon


4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ The Royale for "Stout Night" in St. Louis, MO for $7. Tapped from the Founder's Tap Handle w/ a Canadian Park Ranger in a Red Jacket on the top into a 12oz Snifter Glass.
This was a 2011 Vintage.

Aroma- Very boozy and filled with bourbon. Dark Chocolate hits the nose as well and is closest to perfection on the nose for this style.

Appearance- Received with a .5 finger, bubbly head that dies quick. Has a viscous, deep looking body and brown. Leaves sudsy lacing behind.

Flavor- Very close to the aroma! Has a nice dark chocolate/light espresso body with a heaping amount of sweetness. Bourbon is big once again in the flavor and finishes with a full bitterness level.

Mouthfeel- Medium-Full Bodied, Lightest Carbonation, Bourbon background and finishes with strong sweetness.

Overall Impression- Very happy I got to enjoy this one on tap! Not as much maple syrup as I found in the bottle version but still an AWESOME 2x Stout! Would recommend finding this on-tap if you get a chance.

Serving type: on-tap

03-13-2012 20:23:04 | More by DCon
Photo of barczar


4.49/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours into the half tulip an opaque black color with minimal dark tan head that dissipates into a hint of a ring around the glass. The pool of drips at the glass base show a clear caramel brown color.

Aroma is caramel, molasses, and heavy coffee, with vanilla and slight hints of oak and maple. Chocolate malt and bourbon provide a consistent background. Smoky, fruity chili comes out late.

Roast malt, vanilla, and chocolate carry the flavor profile, with an almost minty sweet maple flavor throughout. The finish is slightly bitter coffee. Bourbon is evident in flavors of oak and vanilla but not overwhelmingly boozy. Dark fruits...bruised plums, figs, come to play as it warms. An almost ancho chili-like flavor emerges...smoky and peppery.

Body is fairly heavy, syrupy with little carbonation, and a slightly alcoholic warmth.

Overall, a bit sweet for my palate, but very complex.

Serving type: on-tap

02-29-2012 01:14:12 | More by barczar
Photo of DrinkSlurm


4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Aporkalypse festival, poured into taster...several times.
Pours a deep black, nice tan head.
Smell is of sweet roasted malts, vanilla bourbon and coffee. Aboslutely amazing.
Its so hard to put in words the flavor of this brew...its just so amazing.
Sweet maple malts, coffee, a bit of baking vanilla and it all just blends together. Its so smooth and full of flavor. This is quite possibly one of the best brews I ever had. I really do not give a 5 on taste, but this absolutely deserves a 5 - id give it a 6 if I could.

Serving type: on-tap

02-28-2012 03:01:47 | More by DrinkSlurm
Photo of deadonhisfeet


4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served on tap in a small snifter at the Cock and Bull Public House in Hyde Park as part of Cincinnati beer week. Appearance is dark, dark brown with a tiny bit of transparency around the edges and a thin tan head. They served it a bit chilled and so the nose was very faint, but I didn't have the patience to wait for it to warm before drinking it (otherwise, the smell score could have been higher). I did detect notes of vanilla and espresso beans. It smells like creme brulee (the dessert, not the beer from ST)

The flavor is simply off the charts. There's a tiny bit of vanilla sweetness on the front of your tongue, then at mid-palate it turns into the richest, darkest, most delicious bittersweet chocolate cake you've ever had in your life. They should call this stuff Viennese Breakfast Stout. Besides the vanilla and dark chocolate, I was getting really quality coffee notes, hazelnut, and a very faint fruity tint underneath it. Kind of like cherry. There is no, and I mean NO, alcohol burn at all. It is sweet and smooth, the mouthfeel is perfectly firm and creamy, and the beer is unbelievably drinkable. It took every bit of discipline I had to force myself to sip it and not just take huge gulps of it.

I love barrel-aged beers and I'm not aware of anyone who does it better than Founders. How can I best summarize what it's like to drink this beer? As I was walking back to my car, I was thinking to myself ``If I die on the way home tonight, I will take solace in the fact that this was the last beer I ever drank.''

Serving type: on-tap

02-10-2012 11:37:42 | More by deadonhisfeet
Photo of brystmar


4.03/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been fortunate enough to enjoy this on draft a half dozen times since December, and it's time to re-evaluate my thoughts on Founders' most-hyped beer. From notes at the recent Barcade JC event.

More time drinking this beer helped me realize how cluttered its flavor profile really is. Extreme amounts of coffee and malt sweetness absolutely overpower everything else. The maple is here but isn't blended well into the mixture. CBS screams "Imbalance!" at my palate when I drink it these days.

Don't get me wrong: this is a very good beer -- one I enjoy quite a bit -- but it is simply not on par with the other elite imperial stouts. Brews like Hunahpu's, Dark Lord '10 (not '11), BCBCS, and Darkness all outclass CBS.

And here's the kicker: the last few times I drank CBS, I kept wishing it were Breakfast Stout instead. If nothing else, CBS helped me appreciate how stellar FBS is. But obviously, YMMV. Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

02-07-2012 16:11:40 | More by brystmar
Photo of ShanePB


4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2011
12 oz pour into a tulip

A: Inky oily jet black body with a creamy, frothy brown head. The dissipation was somewhat slow, but it left huge amount of lacing and a wonderful cap behind. It doesn't really get much better looking than this for the style.

S: Maple syrup, fresh coffee beans, chocolate, caramel, vanilla and some hints of smoke towards the back end. There's an overall sweetness to the nose that brings all the flavors together quite well. Very nice.

T: Lots of maple syrup up-front, along with plenty of bakers chocolate and coffee. There's a oatmeal-like quality that comes through midway. Vanilla and oak towards the back end, with more sweet maple rounding everything out. This drinks so easy and it's incredibly complex; I loved every sip of it.

M: Smooth and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation. Full-bodied and hearty, this is how I want my Imperial Stouts to feel. A bit sticky in its coating.

I also had the 2010 vintage on-tap at the same time. It was good but lost a lot of the maple syrup flavors I thought made the 2011 standout. A wonderful beer made incredibly well, believe the numbers this one is killer.

Serving type: on-tap

02-05-2012 02:12:18 | More by ShanePB
Photo of MDDMD


4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


A- dark brown black opaque color with a generous tan head with good retention and lacing

S-rich coffee aroma blended with chocolate, bourbon and vanilla

T-intense rich coffee with chocolate, bourbon and delicious maple sweetness at the finish. A complex mixture of flavors.

F-medium to full-bodied with moderate carbonation and a slight alcohol burn

O-a rich and complex Imperial stout that is every bit as good as billed. Can't wait to try it again.

Serving type: on-tap

02-05-2012 02:09:50 | More by MDDMD
Photo of Brewmeist


4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured on tap into a pathetic excuse for a taster glass.

A - dark, opaque, rich, relentless.

S - immediate espresso and dark roast coffee aromas. Malt and hop balance. Very sweet smelling.

T - instant gratification. Malty chocolatey goodness infused with robust coffee and a whiskey finish. Simply unreal. Brown sugar and maple this beer is on your side.

M - hits a variety of pallette regions. Has a bitter hop balance and a swelling sweetness. My mouth is overjoyed

D - if you don't think this beer is good you are mentally retarded.

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2012 00:32:43 | More by Brewmeist
Photo of unclejazz

New York

4.35/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Holy grail, Shmoly shmail. This swill ain't all its said to be. If you boozehounds like booze, you might like this junk. Its got plenty of maple's sirrup and barrel stink and you soak up that stuff with a bit a high caffeine joe with some pancakes and boy-bin in the side car. The biggest gripe I's got with this paint thinna is that its too damn boozy. You got betta options out there, so get 'em.

Serving type: on-tap

01-06-2012 02:33:49 | More by unclejazz
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,263 ratings.