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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.
BA SCORE
100
world-class

2,266 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(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 KickInTheChalice
KickInTheChalice

Illinois

4.63/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2011 batch, poured from a 64 oz. growler into a snifter.

Appearance: Unfortunately either the keg was light on the carbonation or it lost a bit in the growler. My pour has a minimal tan head that fades to nothing quickly. The color is a ebony with just a bit of ruby in the edges.

Smell: The aroma is pretty fantastic, I can tell that I am in for a serious bourbon barrel beer. Dark semi-sweet chocolate, molasses, and roasted malt dominate what aroma I assign to the base beer. Bourbon, oak, vanilla, and a nice dash of maple are from the barrel aging process.

Taste: The flavors all make themselves known immediately, with little or no progression. A dark Belgian chocolate flavor blends with sweet molasses and some dark roasted malts. Bourbon, vanilla, and oak all bracket the taste and add further complexity, with the maple simply serving as a way to push the flavor over the edge. Fantastic. There is a soft coffee bitterness at the end that is much more noticeable as it warms.

Mouthfeel: The lack of carbonation accounts for me knocking it down a notch. Other than that, the body is luxuriously thick and creamy. A bourbon bite lurks, but the creaminess is just right. There is a bit of carbonation and a touch of alcohol bite as well.

Overall: The difference between trying this fresh and trying a batch that is almost a year old is like night and day. The bourbon, molasses, and maple flavors are so much better defined, while the beer is full and viscous enough to make it drinkable. Truly a phenomenal beer. One day I will get to try a full carbonated fresh batch and it will probably be a near perfect score.

Serving type: growler

10-16-2011 01:34:30 | More by KickInTheChalice
Photo of ajsdad06
ajsdad06

Ohio

4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler fill. Pours a dark brown/black with a small beige head (combination of the growler and too cold at the time of pouring).

The aroma is very similar to the regular Breakfast stout with the addition of the maple syrup sweetness. Mostly coffee, roast, and a touch of dark fruit.

The flavor was everything that I have enjoyed in the regular Breakfast stout: Coffee, dark chocolate, and roast with the added dimension of the maple syrup sweetness.

Cold the body seemed a bit thin. As the beer warmed, the body came around (although not as full as I would like) but remained creamy smooth to drink. The alcohol was not a major factor until it warmed significantly.

I had this at DLD, but my brain and palate were pretty much shot by the time it came out. This was a nice surprise to find so close to home. I have and continue to enjoy this one (at least for a few more sips).

Serving type: growler

07-18-2011 17:58:26 | More by ajsdad06
Photo of Jmoore50
Jmoore50

Nevada

4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In a perfect world I would get this on tap in the morning before I went to work. I would put it into mug, just like a cup of coffee. Personally I think this kills Black Biscuit, better than Kentucky Breakfast Stout, but not better than Breakfast Stout. That beer is just delicious.

The pour on this one is thick, like sludge. It coats the glass with a layer of beer and ruins everything it touches. I accidently got some on my shirt and I had to burn it, no chance of getting that stuff out. No head, kind of disappointing but it was thick.

Smelled like coffee, chocolate, whisky. These are three of my favorite things. Strong roasted coffee beans, milk chocolate, and a nice strong whisky smell make this a true stunner.

Just like what was mentioned in the smells, this thing is right up my alley. It doesn't have one character stand out, they all hold hands together perfectly. The whisky is fairly strong, which is what I love in barrel aged beers. The barrel just pushes out the great roasted flavors and sweetness'.

I want this every morning before I brush my teeth. An amazing beer that I was so happy to finally try.

J

Serving type: growler

12-01-2010 06:27:04 | More by Jmoore50
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73

Rhode Island

4.43/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Thirstybird for sharing this one. Served in a tulip. Pours one shade shy of black with a thin, tan-colored head that dissipates into a sudsy swirl around the edges. Nose reveals bourbon, with a trace of maple syrup towards the back. Taste follows nose - not complex, but incredible balance. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a light carbonation - smooth and silky. Incredibly easy drinking. Not at all cloying considering the dominant flavors being bourbon and maple syrup. Having had this at EBF last year, I have to say that there was surprisingly less maple syrup in this one and have to wonder if there might be some variation in vintages. An exceptional American Double/Imperial Stout.

Serving type: growler

10-17-2010 15:10:28 | More by Jwale73
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domtronzero

California

4.28/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Counter-pressure bottle, filled by CBX (I'm assuming).

A - Slightly murky deep dark brown color with a huge, frothy, long lasting mocha head. Vevety smooth looking with a little but of lacing.

S - Maple, chocolate, little bit of roastiness. Slight boozy alcohol smells great with a little bit of vanilla and oak.

F/M - Sweet dark molasses, vanilla, chocolate and a little bit of roasty dark malts. Candy-like maple syrupish flavor. Delicious. Medium high bitterness accentuated by the dark malts. Full, sweet, oily, thick and viscous mouthfeel. Moderate CO2. Pleasant warming all the way through. Lingering maple flavor.

D - This is pretty easy to drink. A little warm, but otherwise I could put down quite a bit of this. World class for sure.

Serving type: growler

10-08-2010 22:33:19 | More by domtronzero
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

4.33/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this hand bottle.

The beer pours black with no head. There are a few tan bubbles floating on the surface of the beer. The aroma is great. I get notes of maple syrup, oak, chocolate and roasted malt. The flavor is equally impressive. There is a lot of maple, vanilla, chocolate milk, coffee, roasted malt and the slightest hint of soy sauce. Low carbonation and medium to thick mouthfeel. A great beer that lived up to the hype. Hopefully I will get to try this again.

Serving type: growler

07-26-2010 04:39:27 | More by Mora2000
Photo of jsanford
jsanford

Georgia

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

Bottle #47 of 55 from CBX, poured into my Stone RIS tulip.

A - Inky dark black with a bubbly chocolate mousse head that re-formed itself after every swirl. Eventually it settled to a thick ring around the edge of the glass. Outstanding sticky lacing.

S - Definite coffee smell in the forefront with sweet dark malt. Notes of vanilla, oak, and maple syrup.

T - Explosions of coffee, dark sweet malts, oak and vanilla with a subtle maple syrup sweetness on the back-end. Incredibly well put together and balanced, the flavors exist in perfect harmony.Absolutely no alcohol detected. Complex as hell.

M - Creamy and smooth. Silky. Again, no apparent ABV, unlike KBS, which can be a bit hot sometimes. Prickly carbonation is spot-on.

D - One of the best beers I've ever had, I could drink only this for the rest of my life and be perfectly happy. So complex yet balanced, just an amazing offering from Founder's.

Serving type: growler

07-03-2010 22:47:55 | More by jsanford
Photo of ricke
ricke

Sweden

4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Basically black with a small beige head.

Small lacings, but the beer reacts beautifully when the glass is swirled.

The aroma is intense - lots of fat malts, molasses, smooth bourbon, dough, and maple syrup. The character is heavy, but it's still fresh and alive. Great integration in the nose.

The taste is almost unbelievable. The body is beyond full and the mouthfeel is beyond smooth and creamy - this is like cream covered in velvet. It is nicely carbonated, which is very delightful. Lovely sweet malty flavor with s smooth bitter accompanying roastiness. Notes of coffee. The barrel character is flawless . smooth toned-down nutty bourbon with hints of wood and vanilla, and sweet fresh maple syrup with hints of honey. A noticeable bitterness develops towards the finish as the beer ends with caramel, toffee, powdery coffee and a hint of alcohol.

This is, from start to finish, a very well made beer. Ridiculously complex, perhaps bordering what is possible with beer without it collapsing in a mess. Here, instead we get great balance and integration. I must say that I find it interesting that the barrel aging made its mouthfeel so full compared to the regular Breakfast stout. Well well, to sum it up: this might be the best barrel aged imperial stout I've ever had.

Serving type: growler

05-16-2010 22:23:26 | More by ricke
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Hand bottle from a generous BA, thanks Andrew, I don't know if I'll ever be able to try this again so here are my thoughts,

A: Pours a dark brown with a light head, the carbonation is mild.

S: Coffee all the way. Like the best cup of coffee you have ever had. Elegant, strong and soothing.

T: The coffee is heavy in the flavour, it reminds me a bit of Peche Mortel on the first sip. The complexity goes through the roof as some whiskey and maple come to the party, very light hit of vanilla.

M: Smooth, full-bodied, robust.

D: I am so glad I got to try this legendary beer, I can see why it's in the top 10. This beer is incredible, on the short list of the best stouts I've ever had in my life.

Serving type: growler

03-21-2010 02:49:29 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of taylorhamrick
taylorhamrick

South Carolina

4.78/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes taken 1/25. This came from a CP-filled bottle - out of a keg, so I will call it a growler, I think that's the best qualification for it.

The beer pours black, with a beautiful thick, dense brown head, leaving a little bit of lacing down the glass. Looks great from the start. The smell is amazing. You can really smell the sweetness upfront, the maple syrup really enhances that, and it blends and mellows well with the bourbon smell, the charred, roasty, toasty, oak and dark malt combinations, also bringing out a bit of vanilla, and the coffee is in there too, almost getting lost in the incredible mix of smells. A really great smelling beer. The taste, to but it briefly is incredible. This is one of those beers that you hear so much about, you just can't believe that it's true, I actually wanted to like this less than I did. It starts out creamy and chocolatey, the sweetness, combined with the roasty flavors, make it like drinking a coffee and chocolate milkshake, but it's not cloyingly sweet - which may be in part thanks to the oaky-bourbony taste. The syrup isn't necessarily easily picked out, but this is definitely reminiscent of syrup, even so much to make me crave pancakes as a start to dig into it. The vanilla of the barrel really comes out in the taste as well, and I still can't say enough about the rich creaminess, jsut balanced perfectly with the dark roastiness. I mean, it's possibly one of the smoothest (I know that word is a bit lame, thanks the AB) beers I've ever tasted. Just perfect mouthfeel, moderate carbonation, to let you know it's there, but not slow you down any. The drinkability is great, though it's a heavy hitter. I mean, I could barely stop drinking to take notes, but the ABV caught up with me by the end, making the last few sips a little slow, but I really, really loved this beer.

Serving type: growler

03-12-2010 18:09:18 | More by taylorhamrick
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illidurit

California

4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Counterpressure-filled bottle/growler courtesy bret27 at Woodshop 5.0. Pours darkest brown with a nice tan foamy head and some syrupy legs. Aroma is black roasty malts, coffee, maple syrup, smoke, and caramel. Pretty nice, but not as good as the flavor, which is absurd. Chewably thick body, tons of roasted malts and dark chocolate tempered by a smokey maple syrup note with wood, sweet bourbon-like accents, espresso, faint berries. Incredible. Dry and slightly bitter, no astringency, full bodied, epic.

Serving type: growler

02-23-2010 08:52:33 | More by illidurit
Photo of francisweizen
francisweizen

Arizona

4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark black.
Brown head.
Espresso.
Aromas of maple, vanilla, chocolate, oak, whisky.
Taste is the same.
Liquid is thick and viscous when held in the mouth.
I'd like some more of this.
Thank you to the drunk guy outside of the Toronado barleywine festival waiting to grab the # 22 bus who decided to share this with me. Haha.

Serving type: growler

02-14-2010 04:28:53 | More by francisweizen
Photo of md655321
md655321

Michigan

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

Stunning. Huge thanks to the Charleston Beer Exchange for being the best ever at what they do. The Michael Jordan of Southeast beer stores.

Just may be the best stout ever. Well, at least the best breakfast stout. Wonderful hints of maple syrup, but nowhere near overpowering. Really ties the chocolate and wood notes together into one super smooth package. Believe the hype.

Serving type: growler

02-13-2010 02:49:41 | More by md655321
Photo of vacax
vacax

California

4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Kevin for sharing this brew. I should extend thanks to eyebrews as well, who sent a half gallon of Canadian Breakfast Stout as an extra. That is some true Advocacy.

Pours black, reddish dark brown edges. Thin and very fine pathy head with a ring of microbubbles around the glass and a few strands of larger globules of air. The aroma is lousy with dry coffee beans, bourbon that is present but ungodly smooth, and maple that is not just sweetness but complexity and nuance, and dark chocolate.

The flavor begins with fresh cold brewed coffee, rich, smooth, but not bitter or acidic. That dark chocolate is present as well, also rich and it comes with a mild yet rich maple and oak. There is a bit of an herbal twang to it as well, and it is hot, but in such a good way. The finish has big and sweet bourbon notes with a bread pudding type of finish. I had some skepticism toward the high regard for this beer, but this met and exceeded any and all expectation. Phenomenal. The body is thick, velvety, silky, with a light smooth carbonation.

Absolutely delicious.

Serving type: growler

02-04-2010 17:48:41 | More by vacax
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

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

I cannot express how enthused I am to be typing this review! Enormous thanks to Kevin for inviting me (and others) over last night to share this one!

A: The pour is thick, creamy, and dark as the night with a thin layer of mocha colored head sitting on top. Some mild lacing as I drink a couple pours of this.

S: Insane amounts of fresh, roasted coffee are the first sensations to hit the nose. There are some nice undertones of bourbon, oak, and chocolate. The maple aromas are present, but not super bold.

T: All the good things about the nose are translated to the flavors of the beer. The coffee is once again very intense, with an ever so slight maple sweetness. The oak and bourbon flavors provide a touch of sweet vanilla to the beer.

M: Despite the travel from Michigan to CA, this growler has held up quite nicely. A smooth, creamy mouthfeel and a nice full body.

D: I cannot say enough nice things about this beer. I'm absolutely thrilled to have had the opportunity to try it, and I would drink more of this again in a heartbeat.

Serving type: growler

02-04-2010 17:06:23 | More by womencantsail
Photo of ShogoKawada
ShogoKawada

Rhode Island

4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Mikey for bringing this to Rush Hour v.1

...seriously. Never thought I'd be drinking this beer.

A- Dark, robust brown, khaki head, moderate carbonation, fantastic for a handbottle (it 'popped' when opened.. yes!)

S- Whoa. Coffee, maple/honey, rich sugars, smoke. A good deal of smoke. Really complex... begging to be poured into my mouth. Won't deny this beer it's moment of glory...

T- Maple is there, but the smoky barrels come through a lot stronger. The woodiness and campfire notes are delicious. The bitter coffee notes do wonders here, and I get a hint of bitter chocolate to round it all out. The honey/maple sweetness and a bit of buttery/caramel bourbon are icing on the cake. Damn.

M- Great body and mouthfeel. No complaints here, good job to Founders.

D- Um, I'd drink three growlers back-to-back-to-back if I could. I want to drink this morning, noon, and night. No sign of the ABV, nothing but pure awesomeness.

And I don't even consider stouts to be anywhere near my favorite style. This one is just that good.

If/when CBS is re-released, I will be drinking it until I run out of money. World-class in every sense, this is what beer is all about. If only it wasn't so hard to come by...

Serving type: growler

12-28-2009 19:38:37 | More by ShogoKawada
Photo of Ineedabeerhere
Ineedabeerhere

Rhode Island

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

Many thanks again to Mikey for providing a beer that I had only a sip of once before at EBF.

The handbottle opened with a bit of sound, and poured near black with not much head formation, but left a spot or two of lacing. Dark tan ring around the edge of my glass.

Smells phenomenal. Incredible job on the handbottle, Mikey. Even if there was oxidation present, it wouldn't even be able to whisper amidst the symphony of flavors going on here. Complex aromas of maple and marzipan. Coffee takes on almost a hazelnut flavor while still blending with clean, chocolate-covered beans. Sweet nuttiness and chocolatey nougat and almond biscotti with vanilla drizzle. The taste follows with these flavors and just a hint of alcohol in the finish, which is negligible in the grand scheme of the flavor profile.

Canadian Breakfast Stout has low to medium carbonation, which has been well-preserved from this hand bottle. Extremely drinkable and just a very pleasant beer. I would drink this everyday if I could and hope that the rumored future batches are as exceptional as this one.

Serving type: growler

12-23-2009 23:40:10 | More by Ineedabeerhere
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Just another whip out of pure awesomeness at the epic Rush Hour Tasting I. This one also came thanks to Mikey711.

A: Pretty thick as well, but not so much compared to the Black Tuesday we poured next to it. Pitch black color, some carbonation but not much, which can be forgiven coming from x week old growler.

A: Sweet maple first hits the aroma, but it's very tame compared to what I thought it would be. Smokiness is the other big word on this one, lots of smoky aromas and roasted malts. A little boozy but not much. Some dark fruits, and quite a bit of porter-esque aromas of roastedness. Some coffee trickles our, but still light. A touch of oatmeal and chocolate round off the nose.

T: Pretty sweet again, but not overbearing. It has some maple taste, but again not too overpowering. An earthy stout taste comes out as well with lots more roasted malts and some coffee. Again more smoky flavors, that I believe some of it stems from the maple syrup, but there are probably some nice smoked malts as well. Some hops and bitterness cut through all that for a nice addition. It gives a bit of a chewy oat taste as well. Some malty flavors billow out as the taste warms bringing a lot of espresso and roast with it. Some semi sweet chocolate comes through late as well.

M: Pretty thick, but doesn't weigh your mouth down, with some carbonation (again due to growler). Almost velvety in the mouth but not completely.

F: Finishes slightly bitter from the stout charred malt flavor to the spicy hop addition. It also is semi sweet, which the sweetness up front on the taste has dried off quite a bit to a nice finish. More roast follows late, or hangs around at least, with a little more of the smoky flavors. Definitely a Canadian Breakfast in a bottle... er growler. Thanks again Mikey.

Serving type: growler

12-22-2009 20:13:24 | More by jlindros
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youbrewidrink

Vermont

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

Once again my thanks to stowehop.

The color was as close to black as brown gets.

Light brown head, with roasty/boozey/sweet aroma.

The taste was a sweet bourbony malt treat. This was consumed at a slightly elevated temperature so the flavors were perfect in my estimation. The maple was very present and intensefide as we neared the bottom.

This was very drinkable.

Serving type: growler

12-16-2009 15:08:30 | More by youbrewidrink
Photo of becktone
becktone

Ohio

4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From notes 7-18-09

Eye: Exactly what you'd expect, thick and black. Tannish head, creamy and almost cascading even though no nitro is used on this one. At first when poured into my new "reviewing (pint) glass" the head collapsed and lacing sucks. When poured into my older glass-500 beers and only washed out with boiling water, I get a nice thick creamy light brown head and some pretty decent lacing. However, the head still falls to less than what it began at...retention and lacing could be could be a bit better, but thats bout it.

Nose: Great stout quaility here. Lots of roasted notes and chocolate character here. Some ground coffee bean notes as well. Maple syrup notes in here too, faint but there. I think that if I didn't know to look for it I probably would not have even picked it up. Its very much in the background, but definitely there. Founders does it again, the name says it all, breakfast stout.

Tongue: Chocolate notes, roasted flavors and coffee bean all come through in this beer. Theres some sweetness too in here, maybe its from the maple syrup barrel, can't be sure. Getting a dark fruit on the front of the tounge, maybe like raspberries or something like that, kinda reminds me of tart cherries. Almost like Bell's Cherry Stout in the way it comes through...but less specific and more generic. An overall perceived tartness on the front of the tongue, and its definitely from the yeast and not any fruit. Maple syrup flavor is in here, but for me, its hard to find, it mixes in there so well that its kinda hard for me to pick out. I mean there's a big difference between KBS, CBS, and just the Breakfast Stout. You'd definitely be able to tell them apart side by side. The more I think about it that fruitiness I get on the front of the tongue is from the maple syrup barrel. Fruitiness seemed the best way to describe it but once I look closer I think that its a maple syrup flavor. Definitely complex.

Feel and Drinkability: Smooth and velvet like on the palate. Low carbonation is perfect for this one. Body is thick and heavy, slick on the palate. There is nothing I'd do to this beer to make it feel any better. I don't think that there's anything that could be done to make if feel any better. This one is easy to drink, its so damn good that each sip is as good as the previous, makes a beer like this very dangerous, but I like to live dangerously...haha...no but I do like the beers that are dangerous like this one. Flavor just lingers too, it stays with you for a while. I mean this is already my second growler. Now I did share the first one with some friends, but this one I filled today is all for me, it was too good for me not to review it, too good for me not to go back to. Such a great beer, I hope that this guy will end up in bottles at some point. Really one of the best Double Stouts I've had in a long time. Really quality, if you can get your hands on some then do so. Its well worth the 14.99 I paid for a growler. Actually I'd say its worth much more than that, making this a real good deal.

Serving type: growler

10-18-2009 21:07:41 | More by becktone
Photo of khiasmus
khiasmus

South Carolina

4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The used motor oil of 10,000 miles, that brown layer that lazily floats atop and settles down to an inky black in which you can see your reflection. The tradition, you know, the things our fathers taught us, long before we knew what it was like to fall in love... we knew how to mow the grass, change the oil, tinker, work on our lawnmowers and go-karts and whatever-it-was-you-had...
This aroma, though, unlike when Mom would say, "Ugh! You smell of gasoline! Go take a shower!" No, this one of rich espresso, woody maple, brown sugar and cream, light warm alcohol, and it somehow smells thick.
And so we would spend our saturdays chasing airplanes, or getting covered in black oil up to our elbows, and loving every minute, as we were learning how to be men, how to be just like Dad.
Those shots of thick espresso, the flavour of maple syrup on the morning's pancakes, the only meal Dad ever made on a saturday morning. And it may be chopping wood, the smell of a fresh oak log, or the night's fire and soft smoke, but this is different, Dad never had bourbon when I was young. The bourbon is in there in force, but softly balanced with the other aspects.
Thick and chewy, as natural motor oil should be, but this is a delicate monster of bourbon, maple, oak, and famous espresso. There are a few bubbles in there, though not many, just enough to give it an even more full-bodied impression on the palate. The oily-syrup slides down the throat and gives way to a warm, lingering bourbon note.
So take a moment, remember when you learned those things, the things that you can think back on fondly, the cold mornings or the hot days, the aroma of pancakes and maple-syrup when you woke up, or, if your Dad did smell like bourbon, of that. It's a delicious beer, one that well deserves to be highly sought after.

Thanks to Wespatrick for sharing.

Serving type: growler

10-07-2009 15:23:47 | More by khiasmus
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

64 oz growler received in a trade with HopFu. The first one leaked in transit, but Austin was awesome enough to send a replacement. While it was still decent when flat and slightly oxidized, the second growler was phenomenal. This was enjoyed side-by-side with Kentucky Breakfast Stout and regular Breakfast Stout.

CBS appears pitch black in the glass, completely opaque, viscous and oily, with two fingers of nearly black head that retains well, though it leaves no lace as it settles.

The nose is dominated by dark roasted coffee upon first smell. As it warms the maple begins to reveal itself, subtle at first but stronger as the beer reaches room temperature. Dark chocolate, roasted malt and the slightest hint of alcohol are present beneath the coffee and maple goodness. While I wouldn't say this is one of the most complex stouts I've smelled, it's easily one of the best.

The taste is bittersweet up front, a beautifully expressed maple syrup flavor lending sweetness and contrasting the dark roasted coffee. Roasted malt provides a nice bitter backbone, and the sheer viscosity is impressive. KBS and BS seemed thin in contrast. The coffee flavor begins to take over mid-palate, leading into a bitter, semi-dry finish. As rich and sweet as this is, it never gets cloying, and this is coming from someone that doesn't like most sweet beer. Phenomenal stuff, I'm hugely disappointed that there are no plans to rebrew it. This beer is light years ahead of KBS.

Serving type: growler

09-20-2009 04:12:15 | More by largadeer
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Arbitrator

California

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

Received by largadeer in a trade, and shared generously with us po' folk. Thanks Chris.

The first growler leaked and lost carbonation, but I still felt it was a fantastic beer. The replacement growler was properly carbonated -- and with bubbles, this beer is mindblowing.

A: Pours an opaque, oily black color with a huge inch of mocha-colored head. Retention is pretty poor, and within 30 seconds the bubbles are almost entirely gone. But it had terrific legs, and it coated the glass quite well when swirling. It was so viscous that my glass still looked brown after drinking.

S: Black coffee, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. A subtle maple scent underneath it -- I was worried this characteristic would be too strong. Some brown sugar and molasses to be found. I know this was barrel-aged, but I had trouble identifying any oak.

T: The taste starts off with a heavy coffee-forward flavor that is countered with maple. Someone on the forums described this as Breakfast Stout with a shot of maple, and that's an apt description. But it's not a strong flavor; it's more mellow than the bourbon in KBS (which we tried side-by-side), and does surprisingly well in a tasting filled with people who hate sweet beers. The mid-taste is mildly tannic with vanilla and a roasted malt component. The finish sees dark chocolate and molasses. I didn't taste the brown sugar I smelled. The finish is semi-dry and carries coffee into the aftertaste, but it's less coffee-forward than FBS or KBS (a good thing in my opinion).

M: Surprisingly, for all the sweetness and richness, the beer doesn't get too cloying or syrupy. I had at least 10oz, I'd guess, and none of them bogged down on me at all. And it seems pretty well attenuated, so that helps.

D: Wow, I'd love it if they would release this in bottles. This beer is just fantastic.

Serving type: growler

09-19-2009 17:01:04 | More by Arbitrator
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JohnGalt1

Idaho

4.15/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hand-bottle (gonna call this a growler) brought over at Friday night's tasting by Ditmier... huge thanks Eric... Poured into my small La Trappe glass.

Expected black beer... no light even when held to the bright kitchen overhead... dark tan head doesn't stick around ... descent cap.

Aroma is chocolate and coffee.. no real "maple syrup" and no vanilla... the "wood" aspect of it does remind me of the smell of maple wood... I know that sounds weird it is what it is.

Flavor has a great blast of roasty chocolate, but not as much coffee as I was expecting... much more vanilla than the nose... The above "maple wood" aroma is more pronounced than the nose... The body is pretty hefty with still a nice smooth carbonation that helps make this a very nice sipper.

Edit: I figured I had better describe the "maple wood" sensations I mentioned above... I can only make sense of it when I describe it to the Sonoran 100... that brew was filtered slowly through maple chips... The wood adds a unique sweetness that doesn't have the astringency/tannic notes associated with some wood aged beers.

I really wanted to like this one more, but it just seemed pretty one dimensional to me.

Thanks again Eric for going out of your way to bring this beer to Boise.... truly appreciated.... You're a good BA. :-)

Serving type: growler

09-14-2009 06:09:05 | More by JohnGalt1
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nickd717

California

4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review #20 on BA, and I'm saving it for #1000 on RB.

Growler generously shared by largadeer (thanks, Chris!). I was really looking forward to trying this beer and annoyed him about it at every possible opportunity. Same growler that Arbitrator reviewed this from, and yes, it did leak in transit and lose a substantial amount of beer, so the packaging materials were lucky enough to sample quite a bit of this rare brew. I knew from the start this was right up my alley since I love imperial stouts, coffee, and maple syrup. I could probably take almost anyone in a Super Troopers style syrup bottle chug.

Growler poured into snifter.

A - Black and viscous with the tiniest bit of brown foam when agitated. Clung to the side of the glass when swirled.

S - Coffee, roast, maple syrup, and a tiny bit of alcohol. Very inviting.

T - I've heard you can drop a tablespoon of maple syrup into a Breakfast Stout and approximate this beer pretty closely closely. CBS is a little fuller-bodied and more viscous, but as far as taste goes, that is a very good approximation. Flavor is lots of bitter coffee that is very reminiscent of regular Breakfast Stout, roasted malt, dark chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla, and a faint hint of oak. Alcohol is detectable but very well-hidden. This beer is really well-rounded and succeeds in balancing the sweetness from the syrup and malt with the coffee bitterness.

M - Well, because of the shipping mishaps, the amount of carbonation was somewhere between really, really, ridiculously low and Angels Share - i.e. it was damn near flat. Surprisingly, that didn't matter much. Call me crazy, but I like it when a syrup beer has a syrup-like mouthfeel. That's exactly how this was. CBS is smooth and viscous on the way down and lingers on the palate afterwards.

D - This is incredibly drinkable for an imperial stout. The second I put the glass down, I was thinking about my next sip. It just keeps you wanting that mapley, coffeey (not even close to being a word, I know) goodness and almost makes you cry when it's gone and you know you'll probably never try this again.

Founders, I can't stress this enough, please brew this beer again. If I could have a keg of this stuff delivered to my apartment once a month, I would be a very happy, drunk, and fat person.

UPDATE 9/19/09: largadeer got a new growler that was perfectly hermetically sealed, and it was PHENOMENAL. Huge lasting tan head with great retention and lacing. Flavor is just incredibly complex with a lot (but not too much) of maple syrup. Nice lively mouthfeel. This destroyed both KBS and regular BS in a side-by-side. This is flat-out one of the best beers I've ever had.

Serving type: growler

09-01-2009 22:21:26 | More by nickd717
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Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,266 ratings.