Founders CBS Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company
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Ratings: 2,325 | Reviews: 754 | Display Reviews Only:
District of Columbia
4.55/5 rDev -2.4%
From 750mL bottle to stemmed glass on 10/5/11
- Bottle shared with siege06nd as a fine end to a long day of CBS hunting -
A: A good pour yields a whopping 1.5 finger head. The retention is top notch, as is the lacing - gobs of the stuff rimming the glass. Rich blackish-brown hue.
S: Freshly roasted & uncut coffee beans, toasted vanilla, hints of warm coconut and sappy wood.
T: This is a really, really, really delicious beer. Mellow charred malt, with some vanilla and bourbon on the mid. The finish is unmistakable: rich maple syrup, and lots of it. The longer is sits and coats the mouth, the sweeter it gets. Unreal.
M: In a word, perfect. It's absolutely luxurious and silky beyond compare. Viscous - thick as freshly laid tar, and jam packed with texture. Liquid velvet to the palate, it's just remarkable.
O: Who the hell knows if Founders CBS lives up to the massive, epic hype it's received. And who cares? What I can tell you is that it's simply a great beer - one of the best and most memorable in recent memory. Every facet here is on point, created with love and care by some of the best brewers in the country, if not the world. This is a monumental achievement that all beer lovers need to applaud.
Seek it out and find out for yourself.
10-27-2011 18:42:26 | More by Rhettroactive
4.8/5 rDev +3%
Enjoyed at a recent Northern Virginia tasting. I've had it on tap, this was my first run at the bottle.
Black pour with a nice brown head. Retention is lacking a bit. The smell is so balanced. Bourbon, sweetness from the maple, roasty and chocolate. The taste follows the smell perfectly. It's just so damn balanced. Bourbon, maple, chocolate, coffee, roastiness. The taste is deep, balanced, delicious. Very heavy body, carbonated well, warming alcohol and dry finish. I love this beer. Delicious.
10-27-2011 16:57:23 | More by russwbeck
4.05/5 rDev -13.1%
Part of my stout tasting on October 22nd, 2011. 2-3 oz. into snifter. A friend brought this bottle and I continue to thank him for doing so. We went with the full Founders 2011 stout horizontal and tasted Breakfast Stout and KBS minutes before popping the cap on CBS.
A - Copied over from KBS review. As expected, really. Very dark, close-to-pitch-black coloring. Virtually no head nor retention and very little lacing on the sides. Swirling leaves a light brown coating on the glass.
S - Slight bourbon barrel, but the maple is clearly the dominant aspect of the nose. Slight cocoa, bold coffee bean, and roast underneath. Mellow sweetness overall.
T - Immediate maple bourbon, vanilla, and brown sugar sweetness. Middle is roasted almonds and coffee. Oak and bitter finish is cut short by the maple and molasses quality.
M - Medium-heavy body, very nice carbonation, somewhat smooth.
D - It's not quite there. KBS has better balance and complexity across its flavor spectrum. I think the sweetness needs to be cut a tad and underlying characters need to be enhanced. Ideally age will do this. Still worth a try, but seriously not worth the effort required to get it right at bottle release.
10-27-2011 13:22:11 | More by Auracom
4.47/5 rDev -4.1%
750ml bottle shared amongst friends tonight at a byob near our office.
Appearance: Pours an opaque black into a tulip glass with a one finger off white crown that offers little retention or lacing.
Smell: A nice array of roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, bourbon, and a faint dash of maple syrup! I'd give it a 4.3 if I could so I'm rounding up a bit.
Taste: While my sample didn't have much maple sweetness, I could tell that the maple helped cancel out any heat. I'd give it a 4.3 if I could so I'm rounding up a bit.
Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation and medium body.
Drinkability: Surprisingly high considering the abv and style.
I've had this beer on tap twice in the past and I'd say this bottle was my least favorite of the three samplings but still wonderful none the less. The flavors were tame by comparison to the last two samplings. The first draft sampling was more roasty than this one and very restrained in maple syrup profile like this bottle. The second draft sampling had a similar roast profile but a much more vibrant maple syrup profile than this bottle.
10-27-2011 02:05:23 | More by koopa
3.73/5 rDev -20%
This is the second time I have had this beer, and I think it was better the fist time.
Thick dark pour with thin tan head. Aromas of maple, bourbon and milk chocolate abound. The taste follows suite, adding a bit of cold coffee to the mix. And then a charcoal, burnt woodiness that I find very off putting, and was arguably not in the first bottle I had. This astringent like flavor kinda ruins this for me. Beer has great mouthfeel, coating the palate with creaminess and a little heat from the booze.
10-26-2011 13:37:52 | More by baconsausage
4.83/5 rDev +3.6%
750ml bottle opened and poured into a Duvel Tulip glass.
A - Pours a dark, deep brown with a finger and a half dark tan head. Great retention and lots of lacing is left on the glass.
S - Bourbon hits you first, then wood, chocolate, and then some coffee.
T - Bourbon again is up-front, then some maple sweetness, wood, and chocolate.
D - Good carbonation, heavier body, smooth and creamy in th mouth.
O - A very layered and delicious beer, one that lives up to the hype.
10-26-2011 02:39:34 | More by HuskyinPDX
4.6/5 rDev -1.3%
Figured I'll crack this on my golden birthday with good friends. No freshness dating but it's the major bottling from earlier this year.
A= Pours a pitch black color with a decent looking finger of head on it that is luscious and thick with nice retention and lacing on the glass. The head is a nice looking deep brown color. A nice looking RIS.
S= The smell is heavy on the chocolate. More chocolate than the maple I would say. The maple does play a roll however as well as some black coffee. There is a little vanilla in there from the barrel I think but not much. The barrel comes through a bit as well but keeps a little more quiet. One of the most complex beers I've ever smelled. Each element stands out while still making a complete odor. Well balanced between the odors.
T= The taste is again a balance of all of the flavors mentioned above. Deep dark coffee comes through the most I would say. I hear a lot about the maple and I think the maple might play a back roll. The roll is still there but not as prevalent as people make it sound. The dark chocolate is still present but hides a bit behind the coffee. The alcohol is there a little and there is a decent bourbon flavor. A nice balance.
M= Smooth and tasty. Good flavor and lasts just long enough.
O= Is this an amazing beer? Yes it is. Is it mind blowing and tasty. Yes it is. It is still another amazing imperial stout among a sea of them however. I dunno if they hype lives up to the beer but the beer is amazing. I think this one was just a little too crazy for me. The beer itself should not be deducted for what people have made of it however and it is one hell of a beer.
10-25-2011 02:55:59 | More by jjanega08
4.5/5 rDev -3.4%
Lucky to obtain a bottle of this one! Poured into a Duvel tulip. Deep, black, motor oil body; thick. Two-finger head that is a little darker than mocha. The head dissipates fairly quickly, but leaves a little lacing.
Rich aroma. The maple is definitely present and is the primary difference from KBS. But, the sweet chocolate aroma dominates, with hints of bourbon and coffee.
The flavor is also very rich, sweet but blended extremely well with the many tastes that are present: chocolate, bourbon, maple, coffee, roasted malt. I also get a light hint of hops on the back side as it warms.
Thick mouthfeel, but surprisingly drinkable with all the flavor and the abv. I get very little alcohol. Another superb stout from the kingdom of excellent stouts - Founders.
10-25-2011 01:03:43 | More by FanofHefe
4.45/5 rDev -4.5%
I was lucky enough to win a chance to buy this rare brew from Capone's...1/12 bottles.
Poured very dark, nearly black. Small head that retained well as I drank, swirled and savored this amazing stout. Smell reminded me of KBS but quite a bit more obvious sweetness and actually less of an alcohol sting in the nose. Definitely got a lovely rich chocolate aroma with notes of coffee, vanilla and bourbon. Nice and roasty...the maple syrup really came through in the taste.
This is a very complex beer that should be enjoyed slowly as it comes up in temperature. Starts off with a rich chocolate/vanilla taste as undertones of bourbon and maple syrup come through and finish more pronounced. Coffee flavor is present throughout. This brew becomes more balanced in taste as it warms. It is thick, but not in a bad way. Overall, I very much enjoyed this beer and I hope to have another chance at trying it again soon...hopefully on tap.
10-24-2011 19:13:41 | More by MsRif
5/5 rDev +7.3%
A: Pitch black with a very dark chocolate brown head. So dark that you can almost imagine it staining the glass. Even just at thin film residue leftover is noticeably dark. Head retention is relatively good too.
S: Stunning. Smells absolutely amazing. Very strong. Lots of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, bourbon, maple, vanilla and oak. Even a little alcohol sting in the nose but not too badly.
T: Holds up to the smell and then some. As mentioned, good chocolate/coffee/roasted malt bitterness. Bourbon and oaky vanilla are a bit more prominent when it's cold. Maple apparent especially in the aftertaste. As it warms the bourbon and oak relaxes a little bit and it smooths out to become even more incredible.
M: Super smooth and silky unlike any beer I've had. Thick but not unpleasantly so. Not far from guzzling hershey's syrup.
O: Amazing stout. My previous all-time favorite was KBS and this somehow topped it. I'd rate this all 6s if I could, nothing outside of KBS even comes close. Absolutely decadent and delicious on all levels. A must try for any beer lover.
10-24-2011 18:11:17 | More by Dope
4.83/5 rDev +3.6%
750ml bottle, 2011 release. Served at cellar temperature. I’m giddy with anticipation to crack this sucker open!
Pours black with a nice two-finer brown head that leaves sheets and rings of lacing and recedes to a small foamy cap.
Aroma is rich premium coffee, espresso and straight up beans...it could end right there and I’d be satisfied but the onslaught of magnificence continues with really strong bourbon notes and their complimentary vanilla and oak, some decadent chocolate and dark roasted malts, a bit of the maple and alcohol heat come through as well. Very complex aroma and of very good strength. Founders should make some CBS cologne so I can smell this all day every day...
Okay, so we’ve got an amazing aroma...can the flavor stand up? Shit. The flavor not only stands up to the aroma but might even take it up another notch! Starts with some serious milk and dark chocolate, ridiculous coffee and espresso, some vanilla, then the bourbon really comes in along with the maple syrup on the finish. Rather sweet, but not cloying. There is some alcohol heat as well. More a liquid dessert than a breakfast beer...
Mouthfeel is full bodied, somewhat sticky but still creamy, smooth and almost velvety save for some prickly carbonation on the back-end. Let it warm and it just coats the mouth, tongue and soul...
Oh my goodness. I’ve never experienced this level of anticipation with a beer before...I was even shaking a bit when I was getting out the bottle, glass and opener (yeah I’m a geek). Thankfully it lives up to the hype. Another magnificent barrel-aged creation from those geniuses at Founders. Damn. Can they do no wrong? Seriously! This is a masterpiece! Kudos Founders!
10-24-2011 04:00:00 | More by elgiacomo
4.73/5 rDev +1.5%
Pours black with a nice cocoa head. Looks great. The smell is big coffee and chocolate with a slight maple sweetness. Smells fantastic. The taste is insane. Huge dark coffee tamed by a nice underlying maple sweetness. Those flavors mend amazingly with the mild bourbon. An occasional boozy flavor pops up, but then is quickly quashed by the maple coffee flavor. This is undoubtedly one of the best tasting beers I have ever had. Intense, but reasonable. The mouthfeel is big and velvety with a nice light carbonation. Overall, this is easily one of the best 10 beers I have ever had. Impressively drinkable and flavorful. Not sure how this beer will work when the coffee fades, or maybe the maple. To me, this is a drink now brew. Enjoy!
10-24-2011 00:29:35 | More by seeswo
4.72/5 rDev +1.3%
Picked up at Deciccos - Ardsley poured into a tulip glass.
A) Murky brown with a nice tan head. Medium lacing.
S) Chocolate and some light coffee notes.
T) Wow, get the maple up front followed up by the coffee and chocolate. The bourbon finishes this one.
M) Silky smooth.
This beer is outstanding. I know I am not breaking any new ground there. What suprises me is the drinkability. While you do get the bourbon notes at the end, it is not overwhelming but complimentary. Hopefully this becomes more widely available in the future.
10-23-2011 16:54:15 | More by jimmy82063
4.58/5 rDev -1.7%
2011 vintage thanks elijah
appearance - oil pour of blackness into snifter. great head, this is fresh, so thats what you get, a beautiful looking imp stout.
smell - chocolate, bourbon, coffee beans, vanilla, dark malts, maple syrup, minor hops... so close to being a 5
taste - much the same, coffee and hops doing a bit too much bitterness to my liking. still a 4.5 easy. maple, chocolate and malts are amazingly well blended.
mouthfeel - amazing body, so thick. and for that the carbonation is amazing. oily sticking in the mouth.
10-23-2011 15:25:13 | More by claytong
4.83/5 rDev +3.6%
Was fortunate enough to get on a local bottle shop's waiting list for this one. Decided to crack it open sooner rather than later in order to catch some maple flavor.
Poured from 750ml bottle into Bordeaux glass.
Aroma: Fantastic, complex aroma! A line-up of some of my favorite qualities in an imperial stout: milk chocolate syrup, fudge brownie, bourbon, espresso, vanilla bean, and even cabernet sauvignon. All of these notes ramp up as the beer warms.
Appearance: Pitch black body with a 1/2 finger dark tan, creamy head. The foam disappears fairly quickly, but fine bubbles reappear as the beer washes onto the inside of the glass with each sip/swirl.
Flavor: Similar to the aroma, the flavor really came through over time. Overall impressions were initially, a considerable sweetness for the style. Alcohol comes through a bit strong, especially initially in this relatively-young stout. Coffee and hops are there to provide some strong bitterness. All of the characteristics noted in the aroma also came across in the flavor, plus some maple syrup! One of the tastiest imperial stouts I've had.
Mouthfeel: Medium-low carbonation, medium-thick viscosity, and some peppery heat in the mouth.
Overall: Was it a great beer? Yes! Did it live up to all the hype? Well, it probably would have been impossible for a beer to live up to all the hype/buzz that's surrounded this one. Is a bottle worth $100? I don't think so. $75? Probably not. At the same time, I don't want to be one of those "meh" guys who doesn't give a great beer like this its due credit. If you can get your hands on it in a reasonable trade, or by paying $40 or less, though, I highly recommend it!!!
10-23-2011 03:17:21 | More by mdvatab
4.08/5 rDev -12.4%
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.
10-23-2011 00:45:53 | More by Rifugium
4.93/5 rDev +5.8%
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!
10-23-2011 00:22:20 | More by oline73
5/5 rDev +7.3%
On tap at Mike’s Bar and Grill during Cleveland Beer Week. Huge thanks to Founders for bringing some kegs of this this week. Just awesome. I have been searching for the perfect beer for years. I found it last night. The guy next to me said he had this last week in a bottle and tonight was his first time on tap. He said it was clearly better on tap. I have only had this once. On tap. Last night. So this review is based on what I enjoyed last evening. Pours pitch black with a slight tan ring around the edges. Looks like what I would expect. I put the glass up to my nose and whiff. Whoa. Layers of aromas. First I noticed a stickly sweet maple, then a touch of coffee, roast, and wood made a noticeable note here as well. I smelled this a few times because I was surprised by the complexity just in the aroma. I took a sip. My first thought was "Holy Fuck". An explosion of flavor hit me. Upfront their was a strong sense of coffee, followed very closely by a touch of maple sweetness, then a touch of dark roast from the grain bill and a slight note of vanilla with some booze notes that was not at all hot. The booze flavors were hid well by the way this was barrel aged and melded perfectly in the finished product. There really was no booze as there was just a note of it and it made for a perfectly rounded beer. The finish combined all of the above ever so slightly. There was no cloying sweetness. Nothing over the top. Everything in this beer was perfectly represented from start to finish. I honestly never thought I would give a perfect score to any beer. Until now. This one for me goes beyond the hype and was worth every sip.
10-22-2011 03:11:51 | More by fiver29
5/5 rDev +7.3%
This isn't a normal Appearance,Smell ,Taste ,Mouthfeel,and Overall review. There is nothing I can say about this that hasn't been said. Believe the hype. This is the best beer I have ever had. Perfect. I know I am a MI/Founders homer, but this is for real and legit.
10-22-2011 02:40:30 | More by mattyb
4.97/5 rDev +6.7%
2011 Release (ABV on bottle says 10.6% - this page says 9.40). Poured into tulip glasses.
A: Black with a foamy caramel colored head. Head is thin even layer across the top. Dissipates quickly.
S: Milk chocolate, sweet coffee are most present. Strong rubbing alcohol at first. Overall, smells like walking into a good coffee shop. Fresh beans and toasty pastries.
T: Wowza! Complex, strong, thick, sweet. Like good quality drinking chocolate. Aftertaste is the best part - not bitter at all like a lot of beers of this style. The maple syrup really comes through on the finish. Mild oak flavor. Vanilla bean. Has some similar alcohol notes as a good dark rum.
M: Amazing. This is the best part of the beer I think. Smooth, filling, sticky, and thick. Light carbonation that is only notPerfection.
O: Just a good, solid, delicious beer. The only breakfast stout that really tastes like breakfast.
10-22-2011 01:40:32 | More by nickhiller
4.45/5 rDev -4.5%
750ml bottle poured into a tulip.
Pours a pitch black oily color with a small dark brown but very thin with not much lacing. Nose is sweet, slightly boozy and lots of oak and maple.
Taste is sweet, lots of maple candy, the chocolate and coffee is really subtle here. Oak and creamy dark malt is awesome. Very good, creamy and tasty.
10-21-2011 23:11:55 | More by kingcrowing
4.88/5 rDev +4.7%
First of all, very happy I snagged one of these elusive bottles.
Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.
Appearance: Pure black (obviously) with decent brown head and some intricate lacing.
Smell: Roasted malt aroma of chocolate, molasses and coffee. There is a sharp note from the barrels, with oak, bourbon, and I guess that odd sweetness is maple.
Taste: And there it is. Wow. The barrels really take center stage with maple, oak, vanilla, bourbon and coconut. There is definitely a highly roasted Imperial Stout underneath with nice notes of chocolate and coffee, but the barrel-aging is what sent my taste buds into the stratosphere.
Feel: Ridiculously smooth and creamy. Obviously full-bodied, with low carbonation and a highly warming finish. Feel it burn!
Overall: This is quite simply barrel-aging at its finest. Not sure if this or The Abyss is my favorite Imperial Stout - Abyss is more about the Stout backbone, while CBS is all about the barrels. A side-by-side would be fun, but very unlikely to ever happen.
10-21-2011 21:26:32 | More by bsp77
4.33/5 rDev -7.1%
Thanks to Tom for sharing this with "The Core"
A: Motor oil black with very small amount of creamy tan head. Heavy alcohol feet when swirled.
S: Sharp espresso notes and chocolate dominate at first. Espresso more so than the chocolate. The boozeyness from the bourbon comes in and it smells pretty hot. Not much maple, very very faint. Some vanilla notes as well.
T: Bitter coffee and chocolate up front. Some bourboney goodness and a hint of maple in the finish. As it warms there is more of a maple and vanilla presence. Very decadent and sweet.
M: The mouthfeel is THICK and creamy. It coats the mouth and is almost chewy. The sweetness ads somewhat of a cloying quality to the mouthfeel. A bit hot as there is defiantly some alcohol burn on the back of my throat in the finish, not bad but noticeable.
O: This was a very good beer. However, I feel regular KBS may be a bit more enjoyable for me. I think it might have benefited from a year in the cellar as the heat was a tad more than I like, and I do enjoy a hot beer. The hype train on this beer is a bit unjustified, it is very good but not worth the presidential ransoms some people are asking for it.
10-21-2011 02:49:27 | More by Pdiddey3d
5/5 rDev +7.3%
went to the founders happy hour at slows bbq, had this on tap into a goblet, low light room so appearance might not be perfect, also i got 2 pours of it since my buddies girlfriend didnt like it, also this was a whale of mine and i had a godly expectation and it did not let me down, 2011 vintage
appearance - black, void of all light but around the head it appeared to be slightly red, this could have been due to the lighting, a darkish light brown head about a finger tall, that left but left nice lacing, low carbonation
smell - up front was a very sweet coffee smell (i think it is a beautiful blend of the maple syrup, the bourbon, and the coffee) almost fruity, next came the bourbon and coffee that is reminiscent of KBS and chocolate, once it warmed up there was a noticeable alcohol smell but one that seemed appropriate and almost helped to balance out the sweetness
taste - coffee, but not as bitter as breakfast stout or KBS up front, fading into a sweet blend of maple syrup, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and coffee, and finishes with a sweet maple bourbon coffee flavor, similar to a sugar cube and a drop of syrup into an irish coffee, simply amazing, as it warmed up a bit of booze came through
mouthfeel - thick, sticky, and lingered on the tongue, amazing, fit the nose and taste perfectly
overall - if there is a god this is evidence of it, simply amazing, lived up to the hype and my own expectations, and more, a perfect 5, hit all the notes i wanted sweet, bitter, booze, and coffee
other note - decided to sit on my bottle for at least a year, i was spoiled with 12oz (more like 18 from the pours) will report back once it is opened, once again probably my favorite beer to this point
10-21-2011 02:00:28 | More by SeaUrchin
4.05/5 rDev -13.1%
A - Inky black with a finger of milk chocolate head, a few spots and legs left in the glass.
S - roasted coffee, cocoa, alcohol, and not as much maple as I remember...
T - Chocolate, medium roast coffee, and light brown sugar.
M - light carbonation with a creamy mouthfeel, coats the mouth well.
O - Definitely not as fantastic as I remember it, and definitely not a top 3 stout.... The alcohol really started to show up after it passed 65F as well, which just seemed weird.
10-20-2011 23:44:24 | More by xpimptastikx
Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,325 ratings.