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Founders CBS Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders CBS Imperial StoutFounders CBS Imperial Stout

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2,435 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,435
Reviews: 760
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 10.09%
Wants: 2,986
Gots: 519 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: CRJMellor on 02-01-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,435 | Reviews: 760 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dboon
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is fan-freakin-tastic!! By far the best of the Founders’ stouts. Joan Jett black pour with a small tan head. Aromas of whiskey, coffee, and chocolate. Big mellow whiskey, sweet maple, chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt flavors. Glad I got to experience this wonderful beer...

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

what a glorious beer. i love FBS and KBS, so this isn't exactly earth-shattering, but this is by far my favorite of the founders breakfast stouts. i was worried that it'd taste like syrup, but the vanilla and maple syrup is only lurking in the back. one thing it DOES do is help take away the heat that was around in KBS '11. all the flavors come together perfectly: vanilla, maple, bourbon, and breakfast. i want it bottled NOW!

Photo of alalvarez75
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Kite and Key at Philly Beer Week 2011.

A. Black with a coffee colored head that lasted for a long time.

S. Bourbon, coffee, & chocolate with a touch of maple. There was a lot less maple than I thought. It was perfect.

T. Amazing taste. Chocolate, but on the sweet side not bitter, coffee and muted bourbon.

M. Medium level creamy carbonation. Slightly thinner than I expected.

O. Very drinkable. It was not heavy at all and it did go down really easy. I would not have stopped at one. Or two. Or three. But... I was forced to. I have had the Kaiser Crum. and it was a bit too sweet and I was afraid that this would be a sweet KBS. It wasn't, it was its own beer.

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

on tap at kite and key in philly

Pours a thick, viscous black color with a fluffy browned head. Retains throughout the entire pour and leaves sticky lacing everywhere.

Thick scents of maple syrup, sticky sweetness, bourbon and oak with chocolate and nuttyness. Some hints of coffee with roasted beans and heavy malt.

Massive flavors right up front with bourbon and boozy warmth. Roasted malts with a substantial amount of coffee and dark chocolate, some cocoa powder and a decent amount of sweetness. Vanilla and oaky tannins, some cake and decadent rich flavors. Finishes with warm booze and syrup which wraps around the tongue.

Full bodied, milder carbonation, thick syrupy consistency, soft and smooth on the tongue. Absolutely delicious from top to bottom, although I think I prefer KBS.

Photo of NYManc
4.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this at the Rattle N Hum Founders takeover event. May 24th

A: Opaque black with little to no head that had a tan color head No signs of carbonation. Looked like most other great looking stouts that I have tasted before.

S: Smell of strong, sweet maple syrup right up front. Throw in nice mix of chocolate, hints of coffee and a small amount of vanilla thrown in. Made me want to drink this immediately!

T: The first taste that strongly came through to me was the great tasting syrup. A nice malty mix that followed with hints of a very delicious chocolate backwash. A few more sips I can maybe pick up the Vanilla which reminded me of Bourbon County Vanilla. At around 9%, the alcoholic content was very well hidden. Overall I'd say this taste was a little bit disappointing to the hype, but very delicious nonetheless. If they would bottle this and priced it moderately it would be well worth it. The 12 dollar price for an 8oz sized serving was a bit much.

M&O: The mouthfeel is what surprised me the most. It was very very creamy and medium bodied. It went down so smooth and it was the epitome of what I would look for in mouthfeel! Overall I would recommend this beer to everyone, to at least try once even if the price tag is quite high.

Photo of EricCioe
4.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at GI Clybourn during Rare Stout Night, 25 May 2011. Four ounces in a taster.

This pours deep, viscous black with a small tan head rising up and falling away into just a bit of film with some slight lace sticking around. On the nose, there are mostly equal proportions of bourbon, toasted oats, dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and oak, with the maple syrup riding underneath it all. I was surprised that the maple was so subdued and the bourbon so prominent, as I would have expected it to be the opposite. It's a phenomenal nose. In the mouth the base beer comes out a bit more, the dark cocoa, fresh roasted coffee beans, and toasted oats providing the backbone for vanilla, oak, bourbon, and maple to play with. They've taken a great base beer, whatever it is, and aged it in barrels such that the barrel flavors mix and compliment rather than overpower. Again, I was surprised at the maple being more subtle that super sweet. The body is big but not humongous, though the finish is super long with the alcoholic heat dying away last.

Overall, this is a nice counterpart to KBS. To me, they're pretty close in flavor, with one notable addition here. Both of these beers are perfect examples of how barrel aging can take a great beer and make it better, rather than take a great beer and tack flavors on. Everything here is very well integrated. Can't wait for this to hit bottles, and glad I had the opportunity to try it.

EDIT - Had this again as part of our local group's Founders beer brunch including this, KBS, FBS, FIS, and the BLiS syrup used to age this one. KBS was the slight winner for me but this was excellent as well.

Photo of infi
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow— the famous CBS. On-tap at Rattle n Hum's Founders Event.

Served in a wine glass.

Completely dark and muddy in color with tan-colored head of approximately one-fingered breadth. Stringy and spotted lacing on interior. On the nose is preliminarily dark-chocolate dominated with great amounts of butterscotch/caramel, vanilla and the maple syrup. Small amounts of alcohol towards the end. As you let the glass warms, the complexity of the stout becomes more evident. Sweetness of the maple syrup becomes extracted further and enhances the experience even more. An amazing smelling beer.

Taste begins with an awesome toasted malt complex, which immediately eases into a phase of smooth and buttery caramel and vanilla essence. Favorite part of the flavor profile, in my opinion; reminds me of an '08 vintage of GI BCS. Experience ends on immense decadence of dark chocolate bitterness and milk chocolate creaminess. Like the smell, complexity arises upon continuous warmth. No alcoholic booziness either. One of the best tasting stouts for sure. Mouthfeel is full-bodied and creamy – just right for this stout.

So privileged to finally try this much elusive beer. Worth the hype, but not sure if the $12/8 oz. tag was justifiable. Nonetheless, the stout was incredibly tasty. Huge thanks for the RnH family and Founders for making this happen for me and other BA's.

Photo of metter98
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Photo of Neffbeer
4.22/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Founders event at Rattle n Hum.

A: It pours the color of midnight oil, completely opaque. There is a strong one finger tan head that displays excellent retention. It coats the sides if the glass in really impressive sticky lacing.

S: The sweetness is really out front accompanied by notes of chocolate and coffee. The bourbon is noticeable but comes off more subtle overall.

T: This beer is full of dark sugary flavors; maple, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, touch of anise, bourbon, and burnt caramel. Sadly, in the end, it finishes a bit too sweet for my liking.

M: It is medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

O: Good beer, but after all the hype it has received I expected to be knocked flat on the floor. The lingering sweetness knocks this one down a bit for me. It would be interesting to see how it would age in a bottle.

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

Appearance as you would expect from a Founders stout - dark brown, near-black body, tan/brown head.

Aroma and taste are big coffee, with chocolate, a roasty quality from the coffee and bourbon characteristics - I found very little in the way of maple. Honestly, I didn't find it all that dissimilar from KBS. CBS is mellower and sweeter.

It's a very good beer for sure. But it's similar enough to KBS in my opinion that it's not worth the hype to hunt down CBS. Now with that said, I'll probably be the first one running to the store if it's ever bottled. Sigh.

Photo of Rymar9
4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Founders CBS

A- pours dark black with a decent khaki chocolate head that fades to a nice ring of lacing. Dark red shades outline the glass as light penetrates.

S- smells of sweet bourbon coffee. A slight oaky vanilla comes through. 

T- taste is fantastic. You taste the coffee chocolate base followed by the sweet maple and vanilla bourbon flavors. Alcohol definitely comes through but is welcomed within the complexity of the flavors.

M- mouthfeel is medium. A little lighter and smoother than KBS. Alcohol is secondary to the flavor profile

O- overall this is truly a great beer and deserves all the hype it  gets. Cant wait to have it again in the future.

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was a top want of mine, and after missing it at Teresa's two years back, I managed to miss it three other times by mere minutes. I wasn't taking any chances this time, and arrived at the Tavern on Liberty in time to get Ticket #6. Friggin sweet! Once it was poured, I let the beer sit for about 20 mins to warm before getting down to work...

This gem comes to me, a coal-like black body below a light brown creamy fluffy cap. Around the edges, rich garnet and ruby hues manifest themselves as highlights against a deep backdrop. This relatively high-gravity brew leaves irregular wisps of lacing on the glass as its level diminishes.

The aroma has really opened up in the 20 minutes that I waited. When it came to me, it was chocolatey. Now, with some warmth and some contact with the air, this bouquet has blossomed to reveal maple syrup, bourbon and the vanilla that it brought along for the ride, along with toffee, caramel, warm alcohol, and the coffee base of the FBS.

The palate is equally impressive, if not more so. Again, the extremely balanced maple bourbon character imparted by those barrels is a focal point. Founders really has these mastered. The maple is the initial impression, though the bourbon and vanilla follow close behind. The vanilla in the flavor is far more prominent than I could pull out in the nose. The complexity of the beer barrels notwithstanding is also more developed on the palate. Coffee, roast, and the toffee/caramel are still present, but tobacco and some dark fruits - dates especially - come to the party, too. Oak and more vanilla round this out. Wow.

Creamy and smooth on the palate, never giving a hint of alcohol on the palate. This artfully crafted beverage gives an all-over warmth to the lucky consumer, and leaves him thirsting for more. I can't wait until the next CBS tapping.

Photo of FievelGoesWest
4.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black, the way you think of coffee being black, with hints of fading brown.

S: The booziness sticks out a lot here. Stack maple, various coffee smells, and bourbon hints.

T: The maple here was a little much for me. Not to say it was bad, just didn't feel as necessary.

M: Syrupy and consuming.

O: Great beer. I'm going to have to try it with KBS side-by-side sometime to really hammer down the differences for me. Try this if you get the opportunity!

Photo of Satchboogie
4.3/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from Notes at Armsby Abbey Stoutfest 4/16/11:

11oz pour from tap:

A: Pitch black, almost 2 fingers of frothy mocha brown head that maintains for quite a while.

S: Lots of bourbon and coffee with maple, chocolate, and wood aroma in behind.

T: The first few sips I had were with a good bit of the head, it was extremely creamy and silky smooth with a ton of maple. Getting passed the head, I got the bourbon with coffee and vanilla first with tons of maple syrup and some chocolate behind it. Oak tannins and roasted malts came into play in the middle. Finish was a bourbon, coffee, and maple, a touch boozy. I honestly felt that this was a bit too sweet and boozier than KBS, despite the lower ABV. I felt the maple and bourbon stole a bit too much of the show. Still a great beer, but I was expecting a little more with the hype.

M: While it's thick and smooth, I felt it wasn't quite as viscous or smooth as KBS, surprising as I figured the added sweetness would lend a smooth, luscious mouthfeel, but it didn't (compared to KBS).

O: This is a really great bourbon barrel aged stout, but I actually preferred both the '10 and '11 KBS. A little too sweet, too much maple, not as much depth as the KBS (call me crazy, but that's what I felt), and a little too boozy. If you have the opportunity to try this, of course do so, but don't necessarily expect it to be the most amazing thing ever or way better than KBS.

Photo of JoshVandy
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed two 8oz. pours of this at Founders Black Party, April 16, 2011

A- Pours a viscous, oily black from the tap at Founders with very little mocha colored head that disappears almost immediately. As dark as beers get. Beautiful lacing.

S- First whiff is sweet maple bourbon and vanilla. The most amazing thing I've ever smelled. They need to make little CBS air fresheners. Let it warm up and picked up faint chocolate and coffee notes mixed in with a stronger sweet maple character. Fantastic.

T- Slight heat from the bourbon up front, but it's immediately followed by the perfectly balanced sweetness of the maple syrup. The flavors meld so perfectly together, it's hard to really pick out everything going on in this beer. Chocolate, oaky vanilla and a hint of coffee also come through once I let the glass warm.

M- Smooth and creamy with a perfect amount of carbonation. Spot on for the style.

O- Hard to really put this beer into words. At its simplest, it tastes like KBS with maple syrup added, but it's much more complex than that. The bourbon and the maple syrup coexist beautifully together and I could easily drink this all day, every day. A beer that honestly and truly lives up to the infamous status that surrounds it. Believe the hype.

Photo of Emmaus217
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours midnight black with a thin mocha head that swiftly fades to gorgeous looking lacing.

Smells like sweet maple bourbon with a hint of coffee and dark chocolate.

The taste is out of this world. Completely lives up to the hype. Sweet maple goodness followed by delicious dark chocolate. A delicious bourbony/booze after taste quickly follows it up.

The mouthfeel is thick and carbonated just right.

This beer is everything I had hoped it would be. I'm so glad I came to the Black Party.

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

Armsby Abbey, StoutFest 2011.

A- Black body with a mocha colored creamy cap. Good retention and a nice bubbly thick ring. A few nice blotches of lace.

S- Roast malt, cocoa, coffee and maple. Bourbon and oak round it out beautifully. Maple makes it like gourmet pancakes as it warms up more.

T- Very well done. Great roast malt stout backbone with layers of oak, bourbon, cocoa, vanilla and maple.

MF- Silky carbonation in a moderately thick body. Cocoa bitterness.

God damn. A blend of so many beautiful flavors in a stout that I could drink many glasses of.

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

Taken from notes 20OCT2010

On draft, poured into tulip at Blind Tiger's Founders event

This pitch black "loggers-breakfast-in-a-glass" is a masterpiece. From first sight of its obsidian color to its perfectly laced trail left behind, this was truly one of the finest beers I have ever had.

Photo of paulys55
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Enjoyed at Liberty Tavern Founders Flight Night along side several other Founders goodies (including KBS).
Ticket #69 so I knew it would be a good night. By the time it made its way to my table the head had dissipated to a thin, light brown ring around the edge of a pool of blackness. No light penetrating this bad boy. Aroma of dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, maple syrup and whiskey is marred only by the cloud of cigarette smoke I am sitting in. I honestly wanted to take my beer and drink it outside. But this is the price I pay for the oportunity to taste this gem. Taste matches the aroma with sweet maple syrup taking more of a supporting role than I expected but just enough to balance the bitter dark chocolate and bourbon warmth. The complexity of flavors go beyond my ability to describe all of them but my overall impression is that this is as good if not better than KBS and I would not hesitate to seek it out again in the future. Thanks to Liberty Tavern for holding this event and Chris for the heads up.

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

Great Taste of the Midwest 2010.

A: black coffee color with a thin, disappearing brown head.

S: maple syrup, bourbon booze and espresso.

T: Absolutely amazing! Bourbon taste with maple syrup followed by a nice slightly dry coffee flavor.

M: Very nice but somewhat thin with the bourbon and maple rolling around in the mouth.

O: One of the best beers I have ever had. Well done Founders.

Photo of boz4uali
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

5.5 oz at a Founders event @ Tavern on Liberty

A: black, no head (although by the time they brought the glass over to me it may have gone down)

S: black mission figs dipped in maple syrup with a splash of bourbon, all blended with KBS...incredible and not overwhelmingly sweet or bourbon-y . the smell of alcohol is hardly present. sweet but not sickeningly sweet--like a dried black mission fig.

T: delicious stout qualities with fig, vanilla, maple and bourbon

M: thick syrupy goodness

O: had CBS for the first time served with KBS, porter, centennial, double trouble, nemesis, dirty bastard, imperial stout--the CBS was my favorite. although i only had a 5.5 oz serving, i nursed it for as long as possible--the taste and smell were absolutely perfect. smell reminds me of sam adams utopias but better.

Serving type: on tap

Photo of stimulus
4.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a 5.5 taster glass from a Founders tasting @ Tavern on Liberty in Allentown.

A: Pours jet black all the way through with no head by the time I was served, but can't count that against the beer itself.
S: Bourbon, soy sauce, and bitter roasted coffee, followed by maple syrup replacing the soy sauce scent as it warmed up a bit.
T: Initially, I'm only getting soy sauce, the distinctive flavor that reminded me of SA Triple Bock for the first 15-20 minutes until I let it warm up. Finally, after trying a couple other tasters, I got what I expected: big malty bourbon notes, followed by a balanced bitter coffee, and sweet maple syrup/brown sugar on the finish.
M: Viscous, but not cloying, on the lighter side for the carbonation, and full bodied.
O: Thick and viscous, I think one taster was probably enough for me anyway. I'm sure I could have enjoyed a 10 oz snifter, but that would be it for a beer of such a style. It just wasn't that drinkable, even compared to the KBS a little bit later. Also, the alcohol burn wasn't there at all in this or the KBS but it was prominent in the Imperial Stout.

Photo of aglose45
4.6/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this in a 5oz pour as part of the Founders Flight Night at Liberty Street Tavern.

A: Pitch black, didn't have any head left once the flight made it to me.

S: There is a very nice maple aroma up front that blends well with the bourbon notes. There is some coffee present towards the end as well.

T: The maple flavor is present up front, but not as prominent as it is in the nose. Immediately following the maple is the pleasantly bitter coffee. Bourbon follows the maple and coffee, rounding out the taste.

M: Thick, full, and almost syrupy.

D: I like this better than KBS because of the maple addition. I'm a sucker for maple syrup, and it shows when I compare these two beers.

Photo of SamuelJackson45
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Founders Night at The Tavern on Liberty.

A- pours a thin head with dark coffee color look.

S- Smell of maple syrup and bourbon booze and hint of strong coffee.

T- Everything I thought it would taste. Bourbon taste with maple syrup flavor with little hint of coffee.

M- Thin with the bourbon flavor and maple rolling in the tounge.

D- no words can put the.essence of pure bliss of goodness.


Photo of tarheels86
4.58/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tap at Paradiso Dupont.

A- Pours a near pitch black- more like a muddy deep ruby with a super thick, rich, creamy, reddish brown head that has excellent retention, beautiful reverse cascade, and giant sheety lace.

N- Nose is coconut, rather muted overall with perhaps some coffee coming through.

T- A bit hot, very bitter, raw cocoa, unsweetened dark chocolate, some spicy oak, lots of bourbon character coming through rather than what I would describe as "maple". Mostly comes across as coffee heavy.

P- Slick, full, a bit oily.

Much more in your face bourbon and oak than KBS or FBS.

Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,435 ratings.