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Founders CBS Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders CBS Imperial StoutFounders CBS Imperial Stout

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2,454 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,454
Reviews: 761
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 10.09%
Wants: 3,000
Gots: 525 | 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: 2,454 | Reviews: 761 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev -6%
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

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

Had this on draft at Flying Saucer here in Columbia. It was the Thursday night special keg. I showed up at the bar (the following Tuesday) hoping there would be some left. No sign of it on the "just landed" board but I asked the waitress and she said there was some left.

She brought what she said was the last glass of this awesome beer and charged a whopping $13.

Poured black with a tower of persistent cola colored foam.
The taste was all chocolate, maple syrup, and roastiness . I did not detect that much of a bourbon flavor. Chocolate was more pronounced than I had expected. Mouthfeel was full and creamy. Drinkability was solid for the style but one glass was plenty for one sitting. Wish I had a couple of bottles of this laying down.

It was a great beer and, to me, worth the $13 price tag to try.

Photo of BS68280
4.3/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I finally got the chance to try this one, it has been up there on my wants for quite a long time. They got it at the Flying Saucer in Columbia and it was the rare keg last Thursday. Unfortunately at $13 a glass I felt like I was getting bent over buying it. After drinking my glass and finishing off my girlfriends glass I was left underwhelmed. I am quickly learning that a lot of these top beers are really no better than some similar ones, and I really think they are up there because of rarity. Still a great beer but just not compared to it's own hype.

A: Very black with about a 1/4 in of Tan head. Leaves pretty good lacing behind. The deep black motor oil look that I was expecting.

S: Cocoa, lots of roasted coffee, hints of maple but no where near as much of it as I was expecting, I kind of had to search for it.

T: Pretty much right in line with the smell. Sweet at first, maple sweetness and a touch of alcohol, roasted malt and a burnt coffee bitterness. The maple does well to kind of smooth it out, but there is still an alcohol heat.

M: Medium to high carbonation but thick and creamy.

D: A little hot for only being around nine percent.

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

On Tap at American Craft in Brookline, MA.

A - Pours a deep, deep black. The head is slight, tan. Maybe half a fingers worth quickly dissipates into a thin lacing that would hold for the rest of the glass.

S - I swear I could smell this one coming out of the tap. Everything hits you at once in a huge blast. Coffee, vanilla, cocoa, the sweetness of the maple. The smell of the alcohol lingers in the background.

T - There is so much going on here it's difficult to comprehend in the first few sips. The maple comes through first but is held tightly in balance by the bourbon hints that touch the sweet tones with a growing warmth. The oak from the bourbon barrels play naturally into the maple. The coffe and vanilla round out the taste, reminding you what this beer once was. As the beer moves out of your mouth the maple flavors bookend its taste. There's no "I wish there were more X" or "I wish the ____ was a bit muted". Perfectly balanced.

M - Full and thick, but always smooth. Alcohol is well masked with all of the flavor but you can still feel it there.

D - This beer starts to lose it's drinkability about halfway through the third glass. Don't ask me how I know.

Drinking this beer was an experience from beginning to end. Thanks to AC for acquring it. A true double rainbow all the way.

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

In a rare turn of events set in motion back at EBF in Boston, I find myself enjoying several pints of this fantastic beer at the Backyard Ale House. I may never again enjoy this beer in such quantity...

Appearance: This beer pours a deep, murky black. My first pour had little head, as the pint glass was filled to the brim. My second pour was better, there was about a half inch worth of chocolaty colored head that hung around for a bit before fading off into a thin foamy ring around the edge of the glass. My third and final pour, which I believe kicked the keg, was mostly foam...however this pour was free so who am I to complain?

Smell: Out of this world! A delicious blend of chocolate and coffee blended together and mellowed out with a sweet, candy-like maple.

Taste: With every sip this beer just kept getting better. Chocolate and coffee, maple syrup and some vanilla. Absolutely fantastic the way this beer is put together. According to the Founder's rep, this beer comes in at 11% ABV, but there's no hint of that at all.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, perfect carbonation for the style. A tad bit light in the body for a stout this big, but nothing to really gripe about.

Drinkability: An absolutely fantastic beer that I am lucky to be able to enjoy. It tastes great and goes down smooth. The sweetness does get to you after a while, after a couple of pints I was really needing me some hops. All in all, this has to be one of the best beers I've ever enjoyed. I can't recommend it enough.

Special thanks to Stef and John for putting together this fantastic event!

Photo of BeerTour1
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was an amazing beer. Might be my favorit of all time. It had a dark rich color with a slight smokey smell along with hints of cofee.

Don't remember a head to mention on this beer. The nice smooth tast with a nice back ground aspects of oak from the wisky barles and maple syrup.

The most mentionable thing about this beer is the residule sugar left coating the glass after done drinking it.

This beer is well worth the trip to Grand Rapids.

Photo of glid02
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours black with a half-finger light brown head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of large amounts of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and coffee. Lurking in the background are hints of sweet maple and vanilla.

Tastes very similar to how it smells. Smooth roasted malt and coffee flavors kick things off. Shortly thereafter the coffee fades a bit, allowing room for semi-sweet chocolate and good amounts of vanilla. Midway through the sip hints of maple syrup work their way into things before fading out into a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is great, as is the mouthfeel for all iterations of FBS - a great thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I was a big fan of this beer but I have to say that I enjoyed KBS more. If I had to choose I would go with KBS, CBS, and FBS. The coffee flavors are more muted in both KBS and CBS however the bourbon flavors that I love are obviously more pronounced in KBS. Whichever you choose you can't go wrong.

Photo of Mora2000
4.33/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this hand bottle.

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

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

Finally got to get a try of this stuff at the Brewers Guild Fest in Ann Arbor 2010. It was one beer that brought me to this fest with such excitement.

Pours out really really solid black with a creamy, dark reddish tan head.

The maple here stands out super nicely as does the bourbon. Lots of oats, vanilla, bourbon, maple, roast and maybe a little alcohol from it all. It smells absolutely delicious.

Taste is even better. This is a very roasty beer but its sweetened up a lot by maple, vanilla, oak, oatmeal and chocolate. Coffee, alcohol and intense roast flavors bitter it down. The result is a very nicely balanced, but very big, beer.

I can now rest happily having gotten to try this. Only thing now is I want more...

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

Review typed up from notes. Visited the Founders Brewpub in Grand Rapids on 7/2 and got to try this amazing brew.

A - Black as night. Tan head but not much of a head.

S - Vanilla and caramel with some coffee roast. Maple syrup and bourbon are definitely present. Smells a bit hot but delicious.

T - real smooth bourbon flavor. I mean wow, it blends flawlessly with the rest of the flavors in this beer. There is a hint of sweetness from the maple but I can't really pick up the flavor strong enough to place it if I didn't know it was there. Really a great tasting big beer.

M - Heavy body but smooth. A bit syrupy with very little carbonation. But that is to be expected with a barrel aged IS.

D - Wow. Easy drinking for the ABV. I would drink this again any time the opportunity arose. A simply phenomenal beer. Love it!

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

Made the trip to Captain Mike's for this. Well worth it. This is my first time having CBS and my first time going to Captain Mike's. I look forward to experiencing both again. I believe this had been aged for 1 year.

This beer is definitely of the same blood as KBS. It has the same coffee, chocolate, vanilla, smokey flavor, but then has an added maple sweetness that smooths any harshness out. Absolutely phenomenal beer. Glad to have tried it, but now may be even more tempted to open up the bottle I have.

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

Enjoying at Captain Mike's in Kenosha.

8 ounce pour for $7.50. Served by a cute bartender.

Beautiful black pour with a creamy dark brown froth. Looks great!

Smells wonderful, the coffee grabs you first then the chocolate, I can't say I detect the maple but there is a sweet scent that I like. This really smells good.

Tastes incredible! Wow! The coffee and chocolate, I think I taste the maple but it is very subtle.

This is full-bodied with perfect carbonation.

I could drink this all day.

This is one of the best beers I've ever had. Hopefully our paths will cross again someday.

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

Part of me feels so wrong for giving 5's to every category, but I honestly don't know how the beer could have done better in any of the categories listed.

Pours a pitch black with a slight tan head. The beer just looks inviting, unlike some bigger stouts that can look a little "dead" in the glass.

Smell is coffee and chocolate upfront with a little bit of sweetness behind, but to me the coffee dominates the initial nose. Still, I could just sit and smell this thing for an hour if it didn't taste so damn good.

Taste seems a bit more evened out and the coffee isn't as overpowering as in the smell. The sweetness is evident, but not syrupy or overpowering to me. I get maybe a hint of alcohol but even that works in a pleasant way with the other flavors.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, reminds me almost of hot chocolate at times. Carbonation seems pretty minimal, which is appropriate given what we're working with.

My matra for big stouts is generally, even for the ones I love, that I can only drink a pint or so before it stops being so enjoyable, based on the heavyness of the style more than anything. For this beer I would make the exception. For as big as it is, it's silly easy to drink.

FBS was already one of my absolute favorite beers of any style, and this basically takes it and...well, to put it simply, makes it better. Any stout fan needs to seek this one out.

Photo of khumbard
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Yogi's. Awesome to see some rarities making it down this way...

I've had this on 2 occasions now, once from the batch last year, and now this time. Taste is definitely a lot more balanced this time around. I enjoyed the higher level of sweetness of the first batch, but this is a better overall beer. Pour is very dark with a tan head. Aroma is chocolate, roasted coffee, and a background of oaky maple sweetness, pretty subtle actually. Taste is very smooth. Flavors are all well integrated: all of the regular breakfast stout flavors but with the added maple sweetness, and oak from the barrel. As it warmed up it became even better, and the chocolate definitely takes the driver seat. Stellar beer, and easily put away two 12oz snifters. I love Founders.

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

tapped about 30min ago at yogis for Indiana beer week... dam, thanks to whomever made this happen.

from the tap as close to pitch black that dark chocolate can get into a 12oz snifter with a short lasting thin foam head that leaves lacing to the lip of the glass.

aroma is quite subtle - coffee, chocolate, toffee.

subtlety disappears once the first sip reaches the lips... strong coffee / espresso notes forward immediately fading to smooth chocolate, vanilla and sweet maple. absolutely incredible. believe all you have heard. meant to be sipped ? maybe so, but it's hard to let it just sit there. a second pour will be needed. as it warms, taste transitions to the chocolate cake other reviewers have noted.

very smooth to the palate, alcohol burn is nonexistent - entirely hidden.

drinkability - at 9.4%, this one shouldn't be as drinkable as it seems - I'll be having a second, but it's going to require me staying on this stool for a good while afterward...

Photo of david131
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- A thick, syrupy, pitch black liquid with a thin brown head that has good retention. Perfect.

S- Coffee, vanilla, caramel, chocolate cake, and a slightly sweet maple syrup aspect. Smells pretty tame at first, but really opens up as it warms.

T- Coffee, chocolate cake, maple syrup, vanilla. Extremely rich and decadent with a wonderful robust chocolate aspect. No alcohol presence. A nice balance of sweet and roasty.

M- Velvety smooth and creamy with a lasting dry, roasted presence.

D- Rich and delicious. A bit of a sipper. Doesn't quite stand up to KBS in my book, but it is still world class.

This is the third time I have had this beer. The first time it was unbelievably sweet, the second time almost having no detectable maple syrup aspect. Founders really seems to have it nailed down here.

Photo of wagenvolks
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz. hand-bottle shared by stopbarking; split 5 ways. Thanks Daniel!

The elusive Canadian displays an opaque darkness that clings to the edges of the glass with a sugary, syrup-like viscosity. The head is dirty khaki in color and retains surprisingly well for the ABV. Swirling the snifter quickly builds the foam level, but the aroma never really took off for me. Smells a bit muddled, in fact, with ethanolic booze and soft chocolate undertones. The sweetness is there, but I'm not getting too much maple or barrel aroma.

CBS' flavor more than makes up for what the aroma 'lacks'. A delicious mix of dark chocolate, toffee, earthy hop bitterness, Grand Marnier, and sweet, sweet maple. The syrupy sweetness never becomes cloying, however, making this beer surprisingly quaffable despite its big, complex body. The mouthfeel helps the drinkability, too, as Canadian is light on the tongue (heavy in the stomach) and almost fluffy with carbonation. All in all, a superb beer clearly worthy of the hype (a rarity these days).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Dark as yum with a one finger mocha late colored head but doesnt stay too long. A real nice lacing completely coats the glass throughout the experience.

S: It smells like breakfast with a steaming cup of coffee in your face. Massive oak and whisky aroma with a side of chocolate pancakes

T: Taste was huge, like the nose. So complex, so much going on. Very tough to single it all out. Thick roasted malt, bourbon, coffee, maple syrup, more bourbon, maybe some vanilla and oak. My tastebuds are completely enveloped. Compared to KBS this has a much smoother bourbon shot to it. The flavors explode in the beginning taste and somehow it all disappears just leaving a coffee aftertaste. So complex yet so balanced. whatever that maple did was great for the beer

M: It reminds me of a beer on nitro. so little carbonation just lets this beer reach every inch on my tastebuds without blowing up but still having enough just to wake them. Its a sweeter beer but it doesn't leave to much of a sticky mouthfeel.

D: I said it to someone while drinking it so I'll write it down. Every sip is like the first one again and again. I love how the beer somehow disappears after that huge flavor upfront. while I feel its easy drinking compared to beers with higher gravity (BCBCS) the booziness is about the same so I cant give it a 5. I drank two glasses and I wanted a third but not because of the rarity, it was because it was good.

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

It was a nice surprise to see this up on the chalkboard and ordering one was a must. Jet black, mocha colored foam rim around the slick surface. Coffee, oak, vanilla flavors mix in with sweet notes. As it warms up the maple presence comes out more and more. The alcohol is pretty undetectable, I think this is more complex and balanced than the KBS. The carbonation cuts the thickness for a slightly less than chewy feel. CBS is a great beer, one of my favorites, I want some waffles with this next time.

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

Served on tap at Founders in an over-sized brandy glass. The chalk board lists this as 10%abv.

A: poured perfectly, leaving plenty of headspace in the snifter for room to swirl this velvety elixir. The body is jet black. Around the rim a thin ring of chocolate colored foam resides, formed by an active layer of lacing just under the brew's surface.

S: swirling the brew around the snifter releases a torrent of aromatics, including caramel, coffee, molasses, vanilla, and maple. No one character dominates the other, allowing all to ring harmoniously in the nose.

T: This rich nectar has an intensely malty body, complemented by molasses, maple, vanilla, rum, and maple. Truly an experience.

M: thick, velvety, creamy; the body bolsters this brew's rich demeanor.

D: I was shocked by how quickly this brew rocketed to its place on the best of BA list, and decided that it must be had. When o found out that it had been tapped the other day, I decided to wake up early in case the keg got bum-rushed. Fortunately, I made it in time to experience this delightful brew. I highly recommend it, as it rivals any other RIS in quality and flavor.

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

Basically black with a small beige head.

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

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

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

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

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

Had this at the brewpub, and at first thought it was very good ( as claimed/reported). But as it warmed slightly it began to evolve into a delicious highly (dangerously) drinkable draft. I have had many Founders brews, but this was so exceptional, and so remarkable that I now believe this is as goos as it gets. It has an exceptionally good nose, followed by a perfect mouth. The flavor is, let's face it, just out and out delicious. Hints of vanilla and wood, then the maple...soft, subtle but not overwhelming...just perfectly complementary.
I may have to move to Michigan!

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

CBS on tap at the brewery...life doesn't get much better than this.
A-Jet black color with almost no head or lacing as a result of the tap fill. I'm sure a "rougher" pour would result in a thick mocha brown head, but I digress.
S-Sweet maple, bourbon, roasted coffee and malts with hints of vanilla and chocolate.
T-This beer is going to be tough to beat as the best beer made, and for me, the best I've ever had at this point in my BA experience. There is a nice blend of the coffee, maple and chocolatey flavors with some oakey mustiness to provide some character. The bourbon is there but definitely a back seat driver with this brew.
M-Creamy, rich and buttery with minimal carbonation and an overall smooth pleasant finish.
D-This is a sipper, but well worth every sip and worthy of its high top ten rating...bravo Founders!

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really wish I could give this beer a better score but it's not a good lookin beer and not much going on in the aroma. But the taste might be the best beer I've ever had.

Got a 12oz bottle of left over bottles ran through the founders bottleing machine.

Pours a dark black. No head. No lacing. Looks flat

Aroma really only smells like awesome coffee. Not much else.

Taste is the best beer j may have ever had. Tastes like a chocolate covered espresso bean in a glass. Great coffee flavor but not too much, the maple is amazing with all the other flavors and a little bourbon. The chocolate is tasty as well. Like bitter sweet. Such an awesome beer.

Mouthfeel is actually good. Although I think it might be better in tap. Nice light carb. Not too thick.

Overall an amazing beer that I am glad I have more of. Can't wait to drink this again.

Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,454 ratings.