Founders CBS Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders CBS Imperial StoutFounders CBS Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
100
world-class

905 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 905
Hads: 3,724
rAvg: 4.62
pDev: 3.68%
Wants: 3,794
Gots: 682 | FT: 14
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:
Beer added by: CRJMellor on 02-01-2009

Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) is the epitome of why we launched the Backstage Series: to bring some of our most sought-after beers, which have been available primarily at the taproom or at a few select events, to a much larger audience.

Canadian Breakfast Stout is an Imperial Stout brewed with a blend of coffees and imported chocolates, then aged in spent bourbon barrels that have most recently been aging pure Michigan maple syrup.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 905 | Hads: 3,724
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A tasty beer, and credit for that, but I tell you up front coffee and maple syrup, both in huge abundance on top of their regular breakfast stout, is not my preferred choices. I would rather tuned up chocolate. Lots of true coffee, even the taste of creme (though I understand no real creme used). Very filling, the maple syrup seems added in. Above average mouthfeel,, though not as thick as one could imagine. Thanks to Mike at Champane's for putting this one aside for me. (475 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.84/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to bastu for sending me this one!

Pours an opaque black with a dense 3 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a small cap. A nice latticework of lace sticks to the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, coffee grounds, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and maple syrup. Taste is of dark roasted malt, maple syrup, coffee beans, dark chocolate syrup, and a bit of alcohol. There is a nice roasty/cocoa bitterness on the finish that lingers on the tongue and a slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is an exceptional beer that completely lives up to its hype. Hands down, one of tne of the best stouts I have ever had. (748 characters)

Photo of kylehay2004
4.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This has been my white whale. So happy to get to try it. FINALLY

A: single finger creamy dark tan head on a jet body with excellent lacing. No light getting through

S: coffee, vanilla, dark fruit, spearmint, bourbon booze, milk chocolate... Really a touch light on aroma but picked up as it warmed.

T: much sweeter than I was expecting. The coffee flavor is all throughout but without much bitterness. Maple and vanilla dominate. Bourbon is disguised as applying sweetness without the liquor sting. Complex and flavorful. Nothing off putting and is close to the hype as almost no beer can match the hype like that surrounding this one.

M: may be the best part. So silky smooth, perfect degree of coating the palate. No bad aftertaste.

Overall: so happy I got to try it. Now that I havr I will likely randomly and unintentionally come accross it a dozen more times. Worth the wait but still not the best beer I have add but damn close (940 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.6/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high dark tan head that slowly died down leaving lacing on the surface and down the sides of the glass.
S: There are moderate aromas of bourbon in the nose along with some notes of oak.
T: The taste is very well balanced between flavors of bourbon, chocolate and roasted malts. The maple barrel aging contributes a slight amount of sweetness.
M: It feels full-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. Warming from the alcohol is present in the finish.
O: The beer is extremely easy to drink considering its strength because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste. (660 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.77/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at the brewpub on March 22, 2009. Served in a snifter.

A: Very dark and opaque. Little head at all, though a good amount of lacing as it went down. Small amount of carbonation bubbles.

S: Mainly coffee with some vanilla, caramel, and maple. Good smell, but not overpowering.

T: Unbelievable is the only way to describe it--coffee, chocolate, vanilla, maple, caramel. Quite sweet and ever so delicious.

M: Medium to full body with fairly light carbonation. Exceptionally creamy.

D: Absolutely sublime. Much better than the standard Breakfast Stout, and I dare say also significantly better than KBS. Hands down, this is the best-tasting beer I've had to date. (675 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.37/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a pitch black color and a modest tan cap; despite the minimal head, the lacing action was rather robust

Smell: Canadian whiskey barrel, vanilla. maple, dark chocolate, oatmeal and coffee - it is all there and then some

Taste: On the opening, the dark chocolate, oatmeal and Canadian whiskey flavors are the first to emerge, along with a dark fruit complexity; by mid-palate, the maple, brown sugar, coffee and vanilla elements become more prominent as the beer adds a rather boozy aspect; after the swallow, the flavors meld together in layered complexity, though the lasting impression is chocolate, coffee and whiskey though the finish adds a tobacco character

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; warmth in the gullet after the swallow

Drinkability: Sippable, in small quantities, this beer is a treat to behold; one day it would be interesting to pair the BS, CBS and KBS together for a side by side tasting (971 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As lavish and lush as any beer I've had. The culmination of roast, espresso, maple sweetness, malted milk, and bittersweet chocolates is nearly overcomming, but is also charming in its simplicity.

The beer opens with an extremely creamy and volumnous pour. A creamy tan head forms on at the top of the glass as the opaque black beer settles and cascades while the foam rises. The head reliquishes some control because of the emmensity of alcohol. Amazing to see this amount of foam character from such an alcoholic and syrupy beer.

Dominant in its aromas of espresso, cocoa beans, nutty maple, and roasted barley take hold of the nose. But their intensity is unmistakable. Strong bourbony alcohol scent rises as the beer warms and stimulates the olfactory senses. Simple in variety, but complex in strength.

Flavors continue where aromas end. Extreme flavors of espresso, cocoa, maple syrup sweetness, and roasted barley set the tone. Malt sweetness amplifies with maple contributions while medium attenuated malt flavor gives a sturdy foundation to support the robust complementary flavors. Smoky sweetness accompany the cocoa-coffee attack. Esters and phenolic spice are also foregone thus limiting its complexity. Bourbon alcohol flavors are evident and gives a bit more fullness to the taste.

The mouthfeel is structual and heavy. Creamy, rich, and round while also smooth, velvety, and somewhat sweetish in weight. Bitterness arrives from a lot of angles: hops, espersso, cocoa, and alcohol. Avoiding a cloying feel, the beer has finishes malty-rich with lingering maple syrup flavor in aftertaste.

A very rounded and sweeter variety to the ever stable KBS with maple sweetness that shares the stage with coffee and bourbon. These offer a part of a distraction and a complex note all at once. Complex in its sheer proportions of relatively few dominant flavors, yet simple in its intent. Coffee- Cocoa- Malt- Maple. And it succeeds at every faucet. It has earned its way onto the worlds greatest beers and rightfully so. (2,030 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
4.75/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Managed to get one of twelve bottles at Abe's on the day of it's release. The beer poured out as a very dark black color, nice and thick oily looking body with a brown colored head on top. The head lasts for a little bit and fades in time. The smell of the beer is sweet and lightly roasted with some maple, chocolate and coffee aromas. The first sip is sensational, I couldn't believe how great this tasted. The blend of maple and coffee was fantastic. Such an interesting flavor it's hard to explain. The mouthfeel of this brew is creamy, thick and rich. Overall this beer is great. There isn't many other ways to explain how good this is. Makes me wish I could have gotten more. So glad that I got to try this beer finally. (726 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.87/5  rDev +5.4%
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. (1,470 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.54/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Closed out the day with 2 pours of this at DLD '09.

Looked much like KBS in the glass, a thin cap of dark brown creamy mocha foam that gently stuck to the sides. Black oily liquid. Fantastic maple aroma that took the edge off the raw coffee roast, and sweetened it up ever so slightly. Smooth and supple feel, low carbonation, almost slippery. Rich chocolate & bitter coffee elements from the stout, soft maple traces, and buttery vanilla from the barrel. ABV was well hidden, and I had no problem finishing the 10+/- ounces that were combined in one cup. The maple syrup/bourbon barrel really added a nice extra dimension to it, without too much additional sweetness. This was the only guest tap I sampled at DLD, and I felt lucky to try it, though that doesn't factor into the score. (787 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I cannot believe I am getting to type up this review. Soo much thanks has to go out to the kind BA from PA who was able to get me a small growler of this one. It arrived on my doorstep and I nearly fainted. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass.

Deep, dark, inky black pour, about what I would have expected coming from this one. Not a drop of light peeking out at all and a nice, small, compact head of tan crept over the side for just a moment before falling back down and leaving some decent lacing on the glass. Big aroma here, absolutely huge. Very sweet notes, maple, lots of cocoa and hints of coffee and vanilla and very well put together. As it warms bourbon like smells start to come through with nice touches of vanilla really starting to come to the forefront here. Amazingly complex as the subtle maple hints start to find themselves along side blackstrap molasses. As I go in for a sip, I have to admit I am somewhat scared, and at the same time, cannot wait to try it. Rich molasses and maple notes hit first. Soothing, coating, and very filling. Bourbon then rides by, letting you know to take it easy and dropping touches of vanilla along the palate as it goes. Some subtle dark chocolate notes, meld with a hint of coffee, and now we are fully onboard with this one. Long finish is very sweet with the last gasp of maple and vanilla leaving me looking for my next sip.

Overall this was every bit the beast I thought it would be. I will be honest as I thought the maple would be a bit stronger, but in looking back I think it was nearly perfectly placed. This is a great thing they have done here. Taking one of my favorites and making it irresistible. I would have no issue at all with going for this one again any day. (1,745 characters)

Photo of zeff80
4.57/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a jet-black, viscous looking color with a two-finger, brown head of bubbly foam. Nice retention that left sheets of sticky lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of bourbon, chocolate and maple syrup. A boozy aroma overall.

T - It tasted of oak, bourbon, chocolate and toffee. Some maple syrup flavors with a burnt molasses flavor.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A full bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is really an outstanding beer. It delivered upon all my expectations. (504 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
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. (1,045 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11 ounce pour - $7.00 at The Fred in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

Appearance: Viscous-looking, deep black body with an initially surging head that soon settles to a quarter inch of deep tan froth. Sticky-looking lace sheets on the descent.

Smell: Presents a sweetish scent, rich and downright succulent with flourishing notes smelling of chocolate ganache, split vanilla beans, chunky caramel, chilled espresso, maple, and bourbon.

Taste: A deep surge of melty semi-sweet chocolate morsels combined with a heady coffee flavor and spoonful of maple frosting and caramel. Little hints of wood and amiable bourbon. It's fairly sweet without being too sweet and has a richness aided by the mouthfeel to give the impression of melted ice cream. It comes together very nicely, all of the flavors here are integral as well as well-integrated. Roasty bitterness here and there. A choco-roast flair prominent in the finish with a final sliver of sweet maple wrapped in alcoholic warmth.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium-light carbonation. Silken, smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: After seeing once presumed good, honorable men turn into dire savage beasts over this greatly hyped beer release (in the same manner the Rings of Power created the Nazgûl), I was half expecting it to fall a bit flat, but, no, it's really quite wonderful. (1,318 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
4.57/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter at ChurchKey.

This is why the CK is the baddest-ass bar in the District. Greg, there are no words, baby. This guy pours an Elvis painting black topped by over a finger of lovely dark tan (bordering on actual brown) foam. The nose is loaded with everything good found in big stouts: bourbon, oak, caramel corn, vanilla, maple syrup, molasses, roasted malts, light coffee, chocolate, and brown sugar-cinnamon. What's more interesting is that I could distinctly make out each of these components. Clearly. My 'strils haven't been this happily busy in a long time. And my tongue was not left out of the action. For fear of being overly redundant, everything I listed above came back, in some form or another, in the taste. In addition to a bit more bourbon, some burnt biscuits and heavy dark chocolate notes join in on the fun, while the maple syrup doesn't appear quite as strong as before. Damn, this is some tasty shit! The body has plenty of heft, with a heavy moderate carbonation and a thick, gooey, chewy feel. Overall, one of the best bourbon barrel stouts I've had the pleasure to sample. Believe the hype. 'Nuff said. (1,145 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a Chimay goblet.

Appearance: Pours almost black with a hint of red coming through at the edges. There is a layer of beautiful tan head and decent retention.

Smell: Sweet bourbon and maple syrup with strong notes of coffee. Quite sweet and a bit nutty.

Taste: Just as wonderful as the smell. Smooth coffee and bourbon. The maple notes are perfect. Bourbon heat is really good.

Mouthfeel: Thick, but not too thick. Tingly and smooth carbonation with a dry finish.

Overall: Damn near perfect! (521 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.8/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap @ Founders Brewing Company on 4/23/09. 8 oz pour served in a snifter.

Pours black as an oil slick with a 1/2 finger of frothy burnt mocha colored head that spreads out across the surface. This just flares up beautifully when swirled, leaving a rich cascade of foam and brown oily residues back. Awesome! The delicious smelling stickiness of the maple syrup is the first thing that sticks in the nose but I'm also quite surprised by how much of the fresh smelling coffee and chocolate character of the regular Breakfast Stout is coming through as well. The mix of these two elements just smells fantastic! Digging at bit deeper in the nose, I'm also picking up some light barrel notes of wood and vanilla underneath, that give the nose even a touch more depth.

The taste quite frankly, is delicious. Crunchy roasted coffee character and a deep undercurrent of chewy chocolate malts, wrapped up in that same slickly sweet (and a touch boozy) taste of maple syrup notes. Really nice balance here with the flavors just intermingling effortlessly. Finishes very sweet with notes of syrup and chocolate just COATING the palate at times. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a huge mouth filling nature that is both creamy and slick at the same time and a feel that just slathers the mouth with flavors. Overall this just flows so easily in the mouth, with the ABV being dangerously hidden. Fantastic.

Wow. Now this is a Breakfast Stout! Not only do you get coffee but now you also get maple syrup covered chocolate chip pancakes! Seriously, this stuff was just damn tasty, easy as hell to drink for the size, and honestly, I think that I prefer this to the KBS. More please! (1,678 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.67/5  rDev +1.1%
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. (1,795 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.7/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

re-reviewed below original review.
I arrived at Capone's with my brother at approximately 10:15 a couple people back in line after akorsak (review below). They had beers poured and ready for tasting when we sat down anticipating the demand - kudos Capone's. I am very glad I got to try this great beer again. Here goes 888.
Look -5 Smell -4.5 Taste -5 Feel 4.5 Overall 5
Served chilled in a small snifter.

A - Ebony, opaque like an 8ball with 1/2 inch of almond capping. The bubbles appear thick and the bead is averages, with generally good lacing

S - The smell is like music to my nose - chocolate covered coffee beans, maple, bourbon soaked stone fruit and vanilla. The nose is so complex with mild caramel and nuts w/ mild alcohol accent from the bourbon. The cocoa presence and complimentary maple and bourbon really drive the aroma

M - Viscous without being syrupy or cloying w/ sweetness in the texture a mild alcohol up front. The roasted feel takes a backseat and some fruity, sappy textures propel the middle toward coffee-like roasty notes w/ bitter residual feel w/ mild woody astringency

T - Creamy smooth roasted coffee and maple synergy leads into a fine bourbon back w/ vanilla and maple flavors that mingle. As I paused to let the liquid sit in my mouth the roasted elements of cocoa and coffee settle and the character becomes mildly tannic w/ acidity of coffee and the creamy oaky vanilla taste saturates the sweet maltiness. The finish is very bourbon influenced with a mild hop accent

D - Not as maple as I expected but just as KBS masterfully blends all of the elements together-so is the case w/ CBS, a delight. The stout is well layered and complex enough to savor for a length of time as the combination of maple and stout are so complimentary, magic for the taste buds.

I recently had this on tap again after 5 years of my first try reviewed above.
It looks a little less nice than I remember -head retention is not as good. The smell is great and has plenty of coffee and maple. The taste seems sweeter than before and feel less smoothly blended.
Overall I like this a lot -not really deserving of my top 10 of all time beers considering I kept going back to KBS while having it side by side and seemed to like that better still excellent and just as good as any of the stouts in Founders repertoire to me. (2,342 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
4.08/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First had: bottle from Capone's, Norristown, PA

2011 raffle with 12 available bottles, and the lovely MsRif was fortunate enough to win one! Thanks to Matt Capone and his bustling staff for providing these gems...I actually feel bad that he wasn't able to keep one for himself, but his respect for his patrons is honorable to say the least.

I took this bottle home to enjoy in comfort with my wife. I do have a Founders snifter, but for some reason I decided to decant this hyped brew into a Trappist Rochefort chalice. Abysmal obsidian color, capped with a milk chocolaty head that recedes quite a bit but doesn't completely dissipate. Lots of attractive lacing. When cooled, the aroma and taste is more on the boozy side with hints of anise, so I let it warm up quite a bit before the majority of the tasting. Scents of chocolate, distant coffee, with notes of bourbon and touches of sweetness. Pretty similar to the KBS, really, in aroma and taste, with most differences being subtle. Taste of rich, rich chocolate that really comes to the foreground when the beer is warmer, along with definite heavy but smooth coffee notes. Booze is an afterthought, but definitely present from mid-palate onward, and the maple comes out to play at about the same time, giving a quite mellow finish, infused with alcohol warmth. I actually think this tastes a bit more boozy than the KBS, even though the latter is slightly higher in ABV. Just about full-bodied, rich and smooth, and highly drinkable, but obviously to be savored slowly.

Was it worth the hype? Meh. I rank it very highly among the beers I've had, but I wouldn't say it's worth traveling the world for, and definitely not worth paying a gouging price for. If you can find it for $25, grab it. MAYBE $35 at the most, but any higher than that, and you're better off just being patient and waiting for your time to come.

Just for an idea of the stupid hype around this beer. Someone next to me at a bar once said that "CBS makes KBS seem like it's watered down." Anyone who says anything like this...don't listen to anything else they have to say about beer or anything in general, because they're full of it.

Plus, KBS is better. (2,187 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
4.08/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Brown glass grumbler shared by the very generous Collins, who got it filled in Vermont 8 days ago. Expectations are sky high given its reputation, my love for Founders, and more specifically my love for KBS. Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Served cold into an Adelbert's stem-tulip and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. 10.6% ABV.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: None. No lacing. To be fair, this is a growler pour.

BODY: Opaque dark brown-black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears undercarbonated. Not unique or special looking.

AROMA: A hint of maple syrup. Bourbon character: faint vanilla, a bit of oak. Dark malts, chocolate malts. The maple rocks my world; that's damned inviting. Certainly on the sweeter side, but it doesn't evoke a dessert beer. I find no coffee character whatsoever. The chocolate is far less pronounced than I expected; at most I get some chocolate malt, but no authentic chocolate. Cream. Maybe some caramel.

No yeast character, overt alcohol, hop character, or off-notes come through. It doesn't have any dark fruit, char, or burnt notes. Roasted barley isn't present, and it's usually a note I miss sorely, but based on the aroma its absence doesn't bother me.

Aromatic intensity is pretty high.

Has easily the best maple character I've ever come across, especially as it warms.

TASTE: The maple syrup isn't as prominent as I'd like, but boy is it good. The dark malt and chocolate malt backbone is nice, and lends it some apt sweetness. Not so sweet that it's a dessert beer. The chocolate is nice, but isn't as evocative or authentic as it could (i.e. should) be. I find no coffee whatsoever. If caramel is present, it's damned subtle - just as it should be. Cream.

No yeast character, hop character, off-notes, or overt boozy alcohol comes through. I would like some roasted barley presence. Not nutty, burnt, toasty, charred, or ashen.

Very well balanced, without too much sweetness. Absolutely cohesive, and almost gestalt. The maple note is emerging more as it warms, which I adore. Good depth and duration of flavour, though the aftertaste doesn't linger. Nice intensity of flavour.

The bourbon barrel character is a bit too subtle and reticent, but it does complement the base beer very well. Subtle vanilla and marshmallow notes are present - and both are marvelous. It doesn't have the white oak you might look for in a bourbon barrel aged beer, but frankly it just doesn't need it. I've experienced bourbon barrel notes that are better than these, but it's rare that the bourbon character just melts into the flavour profile like this does.

Absolutely an intricate build for an imperial stout, but not the most complex brew I've had. As much as I adore it, I'm not finding any coffee whatsoever.

TEXTURE: Creamy, smooth, wet, unrefreshing, slightly overcarbonated, and aptly soft. Slightly gooey, which coaxes out more nuance from the marshmallow. Full-bodied, with a perfect thickness and perfect weight on the palate. Overall presence on the palate is fantastic. This texture elevates the beer - mostly by staying out of the way and just backing up the intricate flavours. Not as sticky or syrupy as you'd think a maple syrup imperial stout would be.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

OVERALL: Not a sipper because it's so damn good. The ABV isn't unnoticeable, but it's not a boozy brew. This is hands down an incredible imperial stout and - as it warms - has some of the best maple character I've ever experienced period. Worth seeking out, but do serve chilled - not cold. This is a beer that's meant to be savored, and I'm happy to say it's worthy of the hullabaloo. Huge thanks to Collins for the share. The maple is transcendent, especially as it warms.

A- (3,818 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.37/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at the Founders brewpub. Served in a pint glass.

A - By the time I got my glass from the server there was no foam left, so I spied on a glass being poured and noted a half-finger of mocha foam that dissipated quickly with negligible lace. Pitch black.

S - Coffee with cream, maple syrup, a hint of whiskey, roasted malts. It's a lot like regular Breakfast Stout (which is the base beer), but with the obvious maple/whiskey influence.

T - There's a lot more whiskey in the flavor, with a healthy amount of maple syrup, bitter coffee, and roasted malts. Again, it's a slightly richer version of regular Breakfast stout, and the added flavors complement the beer very well.

M - Moderate carbonation the complements the whiskey bite. Medium bodied, very smooth and creamy. It's what I expect from an American Double Stout.

D - The ABV is high, and the flavor is very intense, particularly the coffee bitterness and the whiskey bite. As a result palate fatigue sets in earlier than usual. Other than that, eminently quaffable!

A great variation on an already great beer. Hope this makes it out of the brewpub at some point. (1,140 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at Acadia Cafe, in a fluted tulip. I hate these, I'd rather have balloon snifter. Waaah.

Solid ebon hue, lovely cocoa-tan head, small, but staying, leaving some lace. Looks the part, gets me anticipating something great!

Aroma: Sweetness in the nose, coffee first, then chocolate, a bit of molasses, here comes the maple...whiskey makes a cameo.

Taste: Big, beefy and brawny, ...chocolate starts it out, slathers itself all over the palate, floats and coats...there's hints of coffee too. Oats bring the smoothness, layer on layer of flavor bring the slickness. Nice roasty character on the palate. This is one big in taste, but not overpowering. The deliciousness in this, however, is through the roof.

Now, on to glass #2. It was so good, I had to have another. And I can't believe they still have this.

Rich, and sweet, but not overly so. Sugary maple mixes with coffee and chocolate, and somewhere in the middle, the bourbon peeps in. It might seem like a cacophony, but there's harmony here. Gets sweeter as we go...but the depth of the flavor makes up for that. An utterly rich and complex stout. Decadent? Oh,yeah. Mmmm, but it's amazingly delicious.

Ends very evenly on the palate. Could never call it dry, but it rounds out, and stays mellow. A definite nightcapper, something to settle down with, and close down your evening in style. (1,359 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap tonight at Churchkey in DC.

a - Pours a dark black color with no carbonation evident and less than an inch of white head.

s - Smells of bourbon, roasted malts, vanilla, light oak, and maple syrup.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, bourbon, and a hint of vanilla and dark fruits.

m - Medium body and low carbonation. Smooth and pretty easy to drink for 9.4% ABV.

d - Another very nice stout from Founders. I found it sweeter and obviously with less bourbon to it than KBS, but still good none the less. Some nice roasted malts and bourbon in the smell and taste, and it was pretty easy to drink. I prefer KBS, and I think Founders Breakfast Stout as well, to this, but if I saw it on a tap list I would definitely buy a glass. Glad I got to try it and would like to have again. 4/4.5/4.5/4.5/4
___

Update: I've had this beer 4 times now, most recently at Churchkey again on 10/04/11. The buzz around CBS has been insane this time around, mostly due to trading and it being in bottles, but I figured might as well go get it on tap since I probably won't get a bottle. I've really liked it in the past, but not as much as KBS and about on par with FBS, so wasn't too upset if I didn't get any bottles. All hype aside, after having this again on Tuesday I thought it was absolutely fantastic. The maple sweetness and bourbon mix amazingly with the coffee and roasted qualities, and it's super easy to drink for almost 10%. This was by far the best I've ever had and really made me wish I hadn't been so lazy looking for bottles. Oh well, next year I'll try harder. Would now put this above FBS and very close to KBS in my book.
4/4.5/4.5/5/5 (1,668 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Opening night at Birch and Barley / Churchkey, special appearance by a white whale of a beer, Canadian Breakfast Stout from Founders on draft.

Served in a snifter, beer looks as you might expect. Black, thick, brown thin head carbonation low to moderate. Head leaves minimal lacing on the glass.

Aroma is very complex. There is a dominant aroma of cream or milk, with hints of wood, chocolate, sweet, some smoke, and a tiny sour note in there as well.

This is one of the most balanced and drinkable beers I have ever had. Seriously. Mouthfeel is good, not too thick, not thin at all. Flavors line up well with the aroma. The beer warmed a bit, probably around 50 - 55 degrees when I was drinking it. The cream flavors come through, in the back there is some, slight, roast, a good balance for sure. Lots of chocolate and some wood notes.

This beer lived up to the hype for me. If you ever get an opportunity to try it, do it. Its amazing. (943 characters)

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Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 905 ratings.