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Founders CBS Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders CBS Imperial StoutFounders CBS Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,346 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,346
Reviews: 756
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 10.09%
Wants: 2,909
Gots: 520 | FT: 8
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: 2,346 | Reviews: 756 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of klaybie
4.78/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I cannot believe I got a bottle! Poured into a pint glass.

A: Looks like a great imperial stout! Ink black with a two finger khaki colored head, great lacing down the glass.

N: Predominant smell of alcohol (whiskey) with maple sweetness and chocolate in contention and coffee base. A bit too much bourbon aroma for my liking, but that is just my personal preference.

T: Early hit of whiskey but not too stong or overpowering and no heat from any alcohol. Maple sweetness and coffee come in to balance and bitter chocolate flavors are there to round this beer out. Fantastic!!

M: Viscous, thick just like an imperial stout should be. Perfect.

O: A world class stout! I would love to have this again and consider myself truly lucky to have gotten a bottle. Wonderful!!

klaybie, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of BeerBuckeye
4.78/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very viscous, used motor oil black/brown with nice, mocha colored head with great retention and lacing along the sides of the glass. Good looking beer.

S - Good amount of sweet bourbon in the nose, roasted coffee, cocoa, licorice, hazelnut, vanilla, and a bit of that nice maple syrupy. Even a bit of a rich, smokey scent to it. Lots of good scents coming to work here.

T - Oh wow. All those smells form a delicious confluence of taste here. The bourbon that I felt was so prominent in the nose seems to take a backseat here to that sweet maple, bitter chocolate, and the roasted coffee, and a dash of vanilla. The beer is incredibly smooth and provides a great balance of bitterness, sweetness, and booze. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to taste the maple, but the syrup really plays a great role in balancing out the bourbon.

M - This beer is so creamy and smooth, you "feel" the alcohol more than taste it. Perfect mouthfeel.

Overall - Superb, a great beer. Admittedly, the issues I ever had with KBS seems to be ironed out so well in CBS. The maple provides a perfect balance to this beer. Overall, an amazing beer.

BeerBuckeye, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of mobius387
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

what can i say that others haven't said 300+ times already. this beer looks, smells and tastes just like everyone else has already noticed. i will say this tho:

overall: this beer lived up to the hype. getting this on tap at a bar here in milwaukee, i feel like im one of the luckiest BA's right now. imagine the KBS with maple syrup flavors and a little less boozyness to the beer. its perfect. absolutely stunned by this beer. i really can't wait until they mass produce it and everyone gets to try some that wants to. its a beer that no one should miss out on having.

mobius387, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

BEERchitect, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of CuttDeez
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A very dark brown black body that lets in no light but isn't jet black, with a small but thick tan brown head that leaves good strong lacing throughout.

S - Right off the bat you get coffee with sweet tones of maple syrup. There are woodsy bark notes mixed in with strong cocoa, vanilla, and what I will call a hint of bacon. Absolutly awesome nose that gets bigger and more robust with some warmth.

T & M & D - Coffee, maple, syrup, bacon, chocolate all mixed together in an incredibly smooth sip. The beer is so well balanced and manages to represent all the flavors without overwhelming the palate. With all the flavors and the boldness of the beer you would expect it to be a sipper. Quite the opposite - the beer is so balanced and awesome that it goes down smoother than a milkshake and begs you to have more. It is a party in your mouth.

O - What a fantastic beer. One of the best of the styles I have had - I really looked long and hard for this beer and it did not disappoint. I am glad I found it on draft - now I am interested ot see what some age does to the bottle I picked up.


CuttDeez, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a tulip glass from a 750ml bottle.

A - Pours a gorgeous dark brown almost black with a nice 0.25 inch head that is nice and light tan. The head is nice and dense and recedes at a slightly quick pace. A nice swirl kicks it up a bit with a 1 inch light tan head. Nearly perfect looking beer.

S - Starts off with some coffee aroma followed by some nice dark chocolate bitterness as well as some nice chocolate sweetness. There are some nice There is some slight vanilla notes present as well as some nice Bourbon notes. There is definitely a nice chocolate sweetness mixed in with some slight maple syrup aroma. Very appealing and enticing aroma.

T & M - Wow. This beer is nearly perfect. The pour doesn't indicate how creamy and smooth this beer feels. The beer starts off with some nice slight chocolate sweetness with some nice dark chocolate bitterness. The beer is soooo smooth. There is some nice slightly roasted coffee notes that match up perfectly with the slight subtle chocolate sweetness. There is a nice maple syrup note that flashes up between the nice roasted coffee notes and the milk chocolate notes. There is some nice maple syrup sweetness during the finish as well as some Bourbon and some nice slight alcohol hotness.

O - This beer was great. It is definitely not over-hyped IMO. They should make this regularly. Very smooth and creamy. Well balanced because its not too sweet and not too roasty. Perfect balance and perfect mouthfeel.

JoEBoBpr, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of freehafe
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap in snifter during bottle release (10/1/11).

A: Dark black pour with light brown/tan thin head, moderate lacing.

S: Smelled sweet, mostly bourbon and coffee, hints of syrup and vanilla.

T: Nice balance of the major elements, coffee, bourbon, and chocolate. Delicate, but present maple syrup taste, not overpowering. Sweet, but balanced.

M: Creamy with a crisp finish.

O: This is now one of my favorite beers, great flavor and balance, deserves the hype. Another great one from Founders.

freehafe, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

CBS, bottle bought at Whole Foods in Manhattan for $14.99 (thanks to the best beer guy in the world!)

Appearance: Poured into my Sierra snifter, CBS goes out thick and black and beautifully carbonated, producing a two-finger head with thick bubbles. Very good and balanced lacing, retention and carbonation.

Smell: Lotta wood, some booze. Liquorice, sweetness. Tad of vanilla, coffee grounds.

Taste: Here is where the maple syrup shines and comes through. I wasn't sure *how* maple tastes, so I reached for a small bottle of pure Canadian maple syrup I keep in my kitchen cupboard. Sure enough, this is it. Sweet, enticing, thick, honey-like. I had a sip of maple syrup and then a sip of CBS and I knew that was it. Coffee and outrageousness follows, plus an exceptional creaminess (as in, "I want half-and-half in my coffee") and a crazy-dry finish that had me reaching for water. Sugar and chocolate tossed around.

Mouthfeel: Truly outstanding. Rich but not overbearing, creamy, well-balanced, delicious, not boozy. As you sip, the carbonation feels lower than it looked as it poured out. This is up there with Goose Bourbon Rare and Vanilla. My favorite kind of brew!

Overall: Needless to say, this is exceptional (as in, "5"). Because they dare to use such a thing as a maple-syrup barrel. Because it is so tremendously well balanced. Because it is so disgustingly tasty. And because it has got no trace of booziness despite the hefty ABV. CBS!!!

DoubleSimcoe, Oct 07, 2011
Photo of bnes09
3.75/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

bnes09, Oct 06, 2011
Photo of mfunk9786
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

After calling 25 (yes, 25) local and not-so-local stores looking for a bottle of this today, I finally stumbled upon one. This is a beer that had always eluded me, and I was thrilled to finally get to try it. It pours with a glistening thickness that immediately sticks to the side of the glass, smelling of fresh coffee that's been bludgeoned with mocha and maple. Absolutely delicious. The taste brings all that's right about KBS with a sweet blanket of additional smoothness brought on by the maple. The flavor is simultaneously restrained and bold, mild and audacious. The mouthfeel is reminiscent of excellent stouts like Bourbon County Rare, slick and oily with only a bit of a carbonation and alcohol tingle (but I don't mean that in the creepy undercarbonated way - this beer tastes fresh and well [correctly] carbonated). The best beer I've had to date, period. My first 5.

mfunk9786, Oct 06, 2011
Photo of foogerd
4.05/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Appearance is your typical good looking stout, dark brown just about black body with a creamy coffee colored head.

S- Lots of roasted coffee grinds some vanilla brown sugars and honey.

T- Sweetness from the syrup and acidic bitterness from the coffee intermingle with each other. Maple syrup plays a more supporting role I would have liked to see more of it than the coffee being that Ive had the coffee experience with FBS and KBS.

M- Really creamy probably the creamiest brew Ive had slithering across my tongue.

O- Excellent brew. Worth skipping work or paying some crazy premium? My palette says no, the taste just does not match up to the hype for me.

foogerd, Oct 06, 2011
Photo of camil1mj
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured at cellar temp into my Founders snifter.

A: Like the blackest coffee you have ever seen. Lots of thin and foamy tan head. Lots of lacing.

S: Like a drunken breakfast in a glass. Coffee, syrup and bourbon all in one.

T: Delightful. Immediate sweetness from the maple followed by coffee tones. The coffee tones are then followed by a pleasant bourbon heat. Amazing. So much going on here.

M: Not the chewiest stout I have ever had, but still very thick. Well carbonated.

O: I understand why this beer has the following that it does. So glad Founders bottled it and I got to try it.

camil1mj, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of isitsavage
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On-tap at Churchkey in DC yesterday.

Arrived in a snifter. Jet black with a finger of light brown head. Head lingered for a bit before falling to a whisp on top. A beautiful beer to look at but even better to smell. Smell is like a very nice chocolate/coffee desert with a good bit of cream as well. I'm thinking coffee ice cream or espresso anglaise.

Taste here is phenomenal, maybe the most beautifully balanced beer I've had. Maple is probably most prominent and you can almost taste the wood from the barrels. Fades to chocolate and cream and then a really great cappacinno flavor. Slightly bitter but very creamy. Really helps to balance out the maple and chocolate. 10% alcohol is perfect as well, it's there for sure and this beer certainly warmed me up, but I never got any alcohol burn, smooth all the way. Lacing after several sips is excellent, beautiful light brown spiderwebs all over the glass. Really adds to the appearance.

Excellent moutfeel especially given all that maple flavor. Not syrupy at all, lightly carbonated and medium in the mouth.

I was very happy to have gotten a taste of this given it's limited availabity. Also saw it mentioned that Churchkey kicked it's keg in 12 minutes to I consider myself lucky. Now if I can just find a bottle....

isitsavage, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of HOPPYKC
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter. Small amount of tan/ reddish head formed, bubbles are extremely tight. Black and viscous; thick. Definitely get a lot of the chocolate and coffee, right up front. The maple syrup is a bit more subtle; took a lot more warming to pick up more clearly. It was noticeable in taking a bit of the edge off the finish of the ale. Over all extremely nice. The smell has a dark fruit and bitter chocolate aroma that is heavy. The alcohol picks up a bit as the brew warms, its absolutely a warmer. Wow this is really a big puncher of chocolate and syrup as the brew gains some temp and matures. Overall amazing!

HOPPYKC, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of NapTownHopHead
4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Let this one warm up.

A: Dark as night.

S: Coffee interwoven with bourbon; subdued whiff of sweetness.

T: Perfectly balanced combination of coffee, bourbon, maple and oak. Coffee arouses the senses, bourbon massages the brain and the maple provides a dessert finish. Perfectly balanced beer.

M: Not too syrupy. Low carbonation.

O: Had CBS at previous KBS releases. Was worried prior experience would not live up to this year's vintage. 100% wrong. Amazing beer, perfectly balanced, and not too over the top. One of the best beers I've ever had.

Serving type: on-tap

NapTownHopHead, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of zeff80
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

zeff80, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of GRBrew
4.3/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this on draft after the release. It was jet black like you would expect. To be honest it tasted similar to other breakfast stouts. It was hard to pick out any maple syrup. It is best to give this beer some time to warm up as it really opens up nicely. It is a very good beer and worth trying to get your hands on.

GRBrew, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of bulldogp04
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Jet black, very minimal head (mostly sporadic bubbles). Leaves a nice brownish-yellow lacing on glass when swirled.

S: Wonderful sweet bourbon aroma, followed closely by rich chocolate and a hint of roast/coffee. Slight alcohol in aroma.

T: Taste sweet chocalatey bourbon goodness. Roast intertwined perfectly with sweet maple hints, wood, and bourbon. Complex notes of roast coffee lingers after you swallow. Alcohol helps cut through sweetness and the sweetness helps balance out the roast and minimizes any alcohol burn. Incredible!

M: Not as viscous as you would think/expect, and the beer benefits from this given the depth of flavor and complexities. You could finish a few glasses or a bottle of this for this very reason. Low carbonation - perfect.

O: Amazing beer, deservedly hyped and incredibly balanced - especially given the bold nature of ingredients used and flavor profile! One of the best beers I've ever had.

bulldogp04, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of birderbeerer
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

CBS release 10/1/2011. Cold night, perfect day.

Black beer, solid but short tan head.

Like KBS, CBS smells like Kahlua. Cocoa liqueur. The sweet malts and the bourbon meld together.

Very rich taste. Strong sweetness with a subtle liqueur edge. But as you drink it, you realize it's more complex than the initial sip. Less vanilla than KBS. Coffee is there but it's deep and not obvious. I didn't detect a distinct maple taste, but I would say it is slightly sweeter than KBS--like a rich molasses has been added. Perfectly drinkable. Great as it warms.

Certainly deserves its place among the best.

birderbeerer, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of darienm
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed in a snifter on tap at the 2011 bottle release event on October 1, 2011 at Founders. Reviewer allowed the beer to reach near-room temperature. Pours a deep black with virtually no head save for a few bubbles of creamy brown. A slight stickiness allowed CBS to gently coat the sides of the glass with a mild yellowish film. The aroma wafts up easily and little effort is required to discern the moderate bourbon notes. Inhaling a bit more brings forth a hint of something sweeter lingering in wait; possibly the maple syrup or wood. Initial taste jumps forward with dark roasty malts covered in a bourbon shell with a mildly sweet maple syrup finish. The aroma while drinking brings the coffee into subtle play. Subsequent tastes confirm that the alcohol is noticeable, but not overtly present. There are thicker stouts, but the extra weight here would feel out of place. Instead an exceptional balance of the flavors, alcohol warmth, and trailing finish ensure that this beer can be sipped slowly for a long while.

darienm, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of Bowman2001
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at release party. Jet black, little to no head. Smells like KBS. Strong bourbon. Sweet chocolate. Some booze. Coffee in the background. The taste was so well balanced. The maple really cuts the bourbon and the beer benefits from it; though, I did not think the maple came through as strongly as some had told me it would. There was a definite sweetness and it had a maple character to it but the flavors were perfectly balanced. The beer's ingredients live in harmony. No fighting for first position. Very similar to KBS but a notch above. Booze is hidden. Had two and a half glasses. Could have easily drunk more but was driving an hour. Well done Founders.

Bowman2001, Oct 03, 2011
Photo of b3shine
4.58/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

8 oz. pour into a snifter at the brewery today (10/1) during the release party. Appearance is flawless; black with little to no head. Smells solid; malt and wood are both present, and you can catch a scent of the whiskey in it as well. Tastes great. All of the aforementioned items are present. This was my first maple imperial stout, and I enjoyed it. The maple wasn't too prominent, but it mellowed the flavors of the wood and whiskey nicely. Mouthfeel was great for a beer of its abv. This is a GREAT beer. Very excited to have waited in line with my wife (twice), and to have scored 8 of them today while getting to drink it at the pub too!

b3shine, Oct 02, 2011
Photo of mltobin
4.28/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Notes from a little earlier this year.

Appearance is black with a thin tan head...looks good. I take a whiff of CBS and I note vanilla, maple syrup, roasted malts and chocolate. Its` taste has coffee, more chocolate, a little maple syrup and very tasty in general. No aspect of it is too extreme, the flavors are very well balanced. The body is rich and has a light carbonation level. After hearing quite a bit about this beer, it was great to finally try it. I have not tried as many imperial stouts as some BAs on here, but this one was quite nice.

mltobin, Sep 30, 2011
Photo of OWSLEY069
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours jet black with a small light tan head. In the aroma, maple syrup, bourbon, and a nice roast. In the taste, oak, dry bourbon, maple syrup, coffee, and a small alcohol presence. A smooth and big bodied mouthfeel, with a dry sticky bourbon in the aftertaste. WOW, is all I can say!

OWSLEY069, Sep 14, 2011
Photo of IronCitySteve
4.68/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Version on Tap at Fat Heads.

A: Pours a viscous dark black color with no light coming through. Provides a thick light brown foam head with excellent retention. There is some moderate lacing.

S: Let this brew sit and warm for 15+ minutes. There is some nice hints of bourbon, chocolate, vanilla/oak, maple syrup and light roasted coffee. Lots going on but not overly potent.

T: A nicely balanced beer from start to finish. Ample amounts of bourbon and coffee astringency in the beginning that is quickly balanced by the chocolate and thick rich michigan maple syrup.

M: A perfect full bodied beer that leaves a thick viscout layer of slick and sweet coffee, bourbon and maple on the palate.

O: One of the main reasons we hit up Fat Heads this Sunday was to try this brew. It certainly did not disappoint at all. Nice complex flavors that are balanced perfectly. Again, this was aged one year, I would be interested in doing a 2010 and 2011 tasting to compare.

IronCitySteve, Sep 13, 2011
Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,346 ratings.