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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.

2,350 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,350
Reviews: 756
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 10.09%
Wants: 2,910
Gots: 521 | 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: 2,350 | Reviews: 756 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tjthresh
4.05/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Chumley's. The pour is Black with a rich brown head, as usual. I got to do this side by side with the KBS, and I perfer this one because the bourbon is much restrainded. I expected more maple. I think that maybe there's a second batch and a second use of the barrel. Full body and lightly sweet finish. Really pretty good.

tjthresh, Jun 12, 2009
Photo of kmeves
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at the Milwaukee Beer Barons World of Beer Festival. Pours a brownish amber with a nice amber head. Aroma is vert nutty, caramel, whiskeyish and strong strong coffee. Flavor is really more of the same although the alcohol seems more pronounced and a bit of the Canadian whiskey comes through. Texture is oily and full bodied. Really very similair to KBS with a hint of Maple Syrup. Yum yummy good!

kmeves, Jun 12, 2009
Photo of ritzkiss
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This Canadian boy has died and gone to heaven - trekked to Grand Rapids to try this treat at the brewpub.

12oz pour is an an inky black, little head. This brew is THICK. Seriously, you can see the viscosity on this one - it's syrup! Lacing down the glass.

Smell is toasted maple oats, maple syrup, roasted malts, light espresso.

Taste is SWEET. Wow, this is the ultimate dessert beer, thick and sweet - but it hurts the drinkability level. Sweet maple syrup, dark roasted malts, vanilla, brown sugar, hints of espresso. Alcohol in the finish, pretty hot - a little boozy. Would love to see how this one ages - would pretty much be perfect.

Overall, this is one ridiculously good beer and I'm glad I had the chance to try it. Not the most drinkable (especially on a warm Sunday evening) but so good. Please bottle this!

ritzkiss, Jun 08, 2009
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.35/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the Founders brewpub, my first choice after looking at a chalkboard full of good choices. Dark brown-to-black color with a thin mocha colored foam. The beer smelled like fresh Breakfast Stout, lots of coffee and malty sweetness with a hint of maple syrup (much less maple than I expected). The beer tastes the same as Breakfast Stout too, again with just a little maple. Delicious and addictive. Based on everything I've heard (and now tasted) I'd say this is almost identical to regular Breakfast Stout, a very close variant.

TurdFurgison, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of mothman
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Busters on 28th for the Beer and Breakfast event.

Poured into a 5 oz tasting glass.

Color is a dark brown/nearly black. Tan head. Very little head of course, but great lace. Very nice.

Aroma: Chocolate coffee, toffee, maple, a little alcohol, earthy hops. A little lighter aroma than Darkness, but still amazing because of the coffee notes here.

Taste: Chocolate, a lot of coffee, a little vanilla here, maple, some alcohol. A lot of roasted malts. Toffee. The taste is just like the smell.

Mouthfeel: Rich, creamy, and thick. Full bodied. Good carbonation. Ends with a chocolaty coffee aftertaste. Slightly dry.

Drinkability: only a 5 oz pour but I really tried to make it last long, but it didn't. Great easy drinking stout. I would want to drink a lot more of this if it wasn't so expensive.

mothman, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of waltonc
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Made the trek out to Grand Rapids while visiting my parents in Michigan in part to sample this beer, which is one of the best I've ever had. Ordered a CBS and KBS and drank them side by side. I can't think of a more perfect drinking experience.

A: Pitch black body with a centimeter of tan head.
S: Bourbon, molasses, subtle sweet maple syrup, and vanilla.
T: See smell. Incredible flavor. Very well balanced components. The maple syrup is subtle and well integrated with the beer. Not too sweet and not too dry.
M: Medium to thick body, creamy, with medium carbonation.
D: Had a couple of these on top of a KBS and bourbon barrel aged imperial stout. Not feeling too great, but it was worth it.

Post-script: downright bizarre that anyone considers this inferior to Breakfast Stout, which is obviously inferior to KBS, much less CBS.

waltonc, Jun 03, 2009
Photo of Sean9689
4.45/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


On-tap @ Founders.
12oz pour into Pils glass (?).

A - Black as black can be with a tan-colored head. Good lacing, very sticky head.

S - Sweet milk chocolate, maple syrup, expresso, no hint of the almost 10% of alcohol.

T - Huge sweet syrup flavors along with chocolate, expresso, and a nice creamy flavor as well. Slight alcohol burn and a bitterness on the end.

M - Full bodied, rich & thick, a little more carbonation then I really prefer with this style but still very smooth.

D - Way too easy to drink...another? Yes please!

A little better then the regular breakfast stout but not as good as KBS, IMO.

Sean9689, May 27, 2009
Photo of callmemickey
4.45/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"I'm sorry, Bruce. These boys get that syrup in 'em, they get all antsy in their pantsy."

A: Thick black body capped by a tight khaki head. good retention and lacing down the glass.

S: Yum. Chocolate, coffee, caramel, maybe a bit of molasses and of course, maple syrup. You can feel the rich sweetness coming off this guy. A hint of booze.

T: Dense, boozey sweetness. Lots of maple syrup coating the chocolate and coffee flavors. Hearty. Breakfast like. Roasted and toasted sweet malts.

M: Thick. Sweet. Massive body. Clean flavors throughout.

D: Woah. When I finished it screamed "Well that was damn good, now get me a glass of water."

callmemickey, May 25, 2009
Photo of BARFLYB
4.88/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at the Southphillytaproom in a wine glass. I jumped at the chance to get this offering from Founders.

A- The Canadian version is just as black and thick looking as the other version. Black as the night with a fairly sturdy dark tan head that loked yummy by itself. Some small spotty patches of lace on the way down.

S- This smells like pure bliss, and reminisant of an early Sunday breakfast with the family. Deep sweet roasted coffee backed with a good amount of roasted malt. Maple syrup is not spared and is right up there with the coffee, they make a good couple. Chocolate as well but not as prominent.

T- This is great, exactly what I needed. The maple syrup takes the lead and is sweet and yummy. The roasted coffee is not far behind and is almost making me cry at how well it melds with the coffee giving off a very sweet taste. Some vanilla from the barrels which I did not smell. Chocolate as well. I did not really pick up on any oatmeal from the base beer but that's probably cause I was focused on the main flavors.

M- Very sweet and a bit chewy. This one has a full body with ample carbonation. This one really blows your palette away probably because of it's super freshness. A sipper for sure, it would be wrong to gulp down this wonderful creation. Just like with regular breakfast and KBS a very nice feel on this.

D- I wish I was not driving as I would of had another and probably another. I sipped this gem throughout my meal and it worked both with the entree and as a desert beer. This is the real deal and fingers crossed that more gets made soon. Get on this if you have the chance.

BARFLYB, May 24, 2009
Photo of SPRichard
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had this at The South Philly Tap Room for their special tapping of this one of a kind beer

small tan head sits on top of the pitch black liquid....carbonation was no where to be found

coffee...hint of chocolate....sweetness from the maple syrup

lots of flavors going on in this one...coffee, roasted chocolate, a nice hop bite and sweetness from the maple syrup came in at the end and was more apparent as the beer warmed....hint of vanilla and light alcohol burn

rich...chewy, but smooth...slight alcohol presence...light carbonation

totally a sipper for sure...changes can be found as the beer warms so no need to pound it down...very balanced and almost begs you to order another...i only had 1 tonight but could have easily drank 2 or 3 more

SPRichard, May 24, 2009
Photo of AVDeuph
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I made a special trip to Founders to have this beer before it ran dry.

A: Served in a pilsner glass, kinda weird but I'm rolling with it. Dark black color with maybe a half-finger of head.

S: Man this is going to be good. A really nice blend of coffee, chocolate, dark dark malt and only a little bit of maple syrup. Maybe 15 minutes later as the serving was warmer, the maple syrup smell started to assert itself and that was a really nice addition.

T: This tasted extremely...refreshing? Can I say that about this beer? If you are saying no I can't, go to Founders soon and try some. Having had the Breakfast Stout and KBS, to me this was the most clean and crisp taste, I'm not sure if that is the maple syrup difference or what. Really nice balance, nothing is particularly overpowering. I thought to myself that this is the truest "breakfast" beer of the three from Founders, because it really tastes like a full breakfast in a glass.

M: Wonderful, see comments above. Thick of course, but this serving was well carbonated which I think actually improved the beer a lot.

D: Drinkability was the most striking improvement with this edition. I thought for 9.4%, this beer has some serious, world-class drinkability. If I didn't really want to tap into (I know) their other specialty offerings, I would have had more.

This was a fantastic beer. One of the best in the class, if not the best, that I have had to date. Founders, please, for your own sake and mine, start making this beer on a regular basis!

AVDeuph, May 23, 2009
Photo of maximum12
3.95/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Man, I hate to be the first one to rain on the CBS parade down a confetti-filled street in downtown Manhattan, but I wasn't wowwwwed by it like everyone else seems to be.

Had a small glass at Stub & Herb's last night at the Founder's release party. Pitch black. Nose quiet but intriguing with the correctly advertised smells.

Taste is subtle coffee with a lot of backing sweet malts, tangled up with the hint of maple that I might not have picked out if not for the blurb in front of me. A little vanilla, just a hint of bourbon, a few puppy dogs tails thrown in for good measure. Lots of stuff going on, but all fairly subtle, & the overall taste was good, not spectacular.

Hard to judge drinkability by the small serving, but I could have easily downed a pint of this, so that's good, right (I mean good score, not good that I didn't, since I had to back out of the parking lot where some ass had parked me in, but that's another story...).

Overall a very good beer. Personally I'd take the regular Breakfast Stout or KBS over the CBS, but glad I had a chance to try it, & if it shows up in the Cities again, I'll go have another glass.

maximum12, May 22, 2009
Photo of tempest
4.28/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Stub & Herb's in Minneapolis. The only had a 5 gallon keg awaiting a special tapping, but accidentally confused it with the Dirty Bastard and tapped it early. Alas.

Still, I got a small glass and it was a tasty treat. No, it'd didn't change my world or light up my tastebuds like my favorite beers, but I'd easily say it's near the top of the style. You've got a hint of maple syrup with bourbon and vanilla oak, all paired with rich, delicious coffee - and that's before you even get to the malts. The malt actually just provided a gentle, dry dark chocolate flavor behind all the bigger dessert flavors. A heck of beer and very drinkable for the style, but not a best-in-the-world beer in my opinion. Still, very, very good. I can't stress that enough.

tempest, May 21, 2009
Photo of supercolter
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Oh baby, I'm not worthy. Appearance is fantastic, looks silky smooth with a very deep black color- nice head and frothy lacing.
Smell is a bit weaker than expected- a good amount of coffee and bitter chocolate.
Taste- It doesnt get much more complex than this. Nice bourbon taste up front with a healthy dose of coffee. The finish is amazing, a lot like guiness but I find some of the maple syrup come through.
Mouthfeel- is fantastic, very velvety witha decent amount of carbonation.
Drinkability- well good for the style. Really enjoyed this one.

supercolter, May 21, 2009
Photo of alleykatking
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Founder's. Review from notes I took while there.

A- Poured into snifter. Nice dark off black/deep brown color with some reddish undertones when held to the light. This came to me with a little I guess you could call head. No real lacing per say but it coats the glass and never really leaves.

S- Upon first smell I could make out a chocolate malty maple goodness. The maple and some oakish scent were faint and made a nice undertone to this beer. Almost a soy sauce smell like the KBS but not as strong.

T- If this is what the hype with the beer has been then bring it on! Nice hot maple chocolate taste as the alcohol is doing it's thing. this seems to mellow out after some sipping is done. I like this. Nice tones of maple, slight presence of woody charater and a nice malty flavor comes through. This is amazing!

M- This is a chewy heavy beer that coats the palate through and through. After a drink it still stays around for a good while. Nice carbination for the style but I could have used maybe a little more. Heavy mouthfeel but not over the top.

D- This is a very drinkable beer. I wish I could have this aged but alas, it's not bottled. Oh well good job on raising the bar Founder's!

alleykatking, May 20, 2009
Photo of beerman207
4.45/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes to Bamadog who shared some of his Growler with me. With this one being so limited in it's release I am happy to have sampled some

A - Pours very dark with a bit of amber to it - the consistency is slightly less than motor oil - nice.

S - The nose has sweetness coming through up front as well as chocolate and a hint of maple.

T - Coffee is the most present in this brew - sweet flavor but in some ways it's lacking the maple syrup that I was searching for in this one. I even detect a bit of smoke in there.

M - the carbonation is very light but it works for this beer.

D - I would rate the drinkability as high even considering the high ABV. Is it worth selling your house to sample this beer - no. However - I believe if you can get your hands on some it's quite enjoyable.

beerman207, May 19, 2009
Photo of kels
4.22/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thank you beerman207 for letting us know this was going to be on tap at Party Town. Bamadog brought back a growler to split.

Appearance: Extremely dark brown, nearly black, with gleaming red highlights, especially at the surface. Pours flat with no head and looks incredibly viscous and oily/sticky, leaving thick, leggy wash on the glass instead of lace.

Smell: Chocolately, reminiscent of the original breakfast stout, slight maple syrup presence, reminds me of maple sausage, with a definite alcohol presence.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Flavors of mild chocolate, sticky maple syrup that's earthy and a little smokey/oaky, darkly roasted malts, very sweet. Moderately hot alcohol upfront and again in my chest. Feel is very heavy, sticky and just carbonated enough to keep from falling flat. It is slick and oily as it slides over the palate.

Drinkability: Moderate to good - almost too sweet for the style; keeps it from going down too fast.

kels, May 17, 2009
Photo of bamadog
4.08/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a rare 1/2 growler of this at Party Town in Florence, KY. Shared with Kels and poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Poured near black with just slight hints of red that are visible at the very surface when held to the light; very thick and viscous and there is a thick oily film that holds hard to the glass on the swirl; no carbonation present at all and there is no head whatsoever. Just looks murky.

Smell: Very deep dark roasty malts and a nice very dark and bittersweet chocolate presrence that is mixed with and masks an alcohol that seems that it is going to become much more present as it warms.

Taste: Very strong presence of chocolate mixed with maple syrup; fair presence of alcohol is mixed in behind and at first I thought this was running a little hot but after a few more sips it really becomes quite smooth; has a slightly woody quality to it as well. Overall it's very very sweet.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, rich and syrupy; a nice coating is left on the palate but it doesn't feel overly heavy or thick; a decent finish that catches me off guard because I thought I might be chewing on this one for a while; I do wish there was a bit more carbonation to it to give it some liveliness, but overall it was kind of like sipping on corn syrup.

Drinkability: Moderate. The flavors are nice and pretty much what I would have expected from this offering, but the sweetness gets to be a bit much and the mouthfeel gets a bit disconcerting because it doesn't feel like a "beer."

bamadog, May 16, 2009
Photo of Steamhead
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Lord Day '09

I was thrilled to see this rare gem on the ridiculous guest taps. This was probably my second favorite beer behind '09 VBDL. Deep, rich black center with a very dark brown edge. The aroma suffered being served in plastic, but not at all with the flavor. This had even more of a "breakfast" feel to it with maple syrup note that came across much drier than expected. The roasted malts brought an excellent smoky, charred note that brought to mind its stablemate Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Wow, it just seems like Founders can do no wrong with the style. CBS, KBS, Breakfast, and their Imperial are all beers worthy of the hype and I find myself compelled to buy them every chance I get.

Steamhead, May 14, 2009
Photo of Donerik
4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was spectacular.
I had it at the founders black party about a month ago but wanted to have it a second time to make sure that it was as delicious as I thought it was at first, and yes it was.

A - Black, brown at the edges, with a creamy thin head.

S - Smelled like coffee, bourbon, malt. Exactly what you would expect from a founders breakfast stout.

T - It hits with the bourbon, as it developed in my mouth there was a strong coffee and malt flavor, and as it finished it had a strong maple finish.

M/D - Sharp, Crisp, Warm. I couldn't pound these but I wouldn't want to, it's a drinking beer, take it slow and it will reward you.

Fantastic, get out to founders and try it.

Donerik, May 13, 2009
Photo of tmoneyba
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft at Founders.

Poured a dark brown color with a large frothy brown head that lasted with excellent lacing.

Moderate to heavy roasted dark chocolate, vanilla, woody and alcohol aroma.

Heavy bittersweet roasted sweet malty flavor with a heavy bittersweet and small alcohol bite finish of long duration.

Full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation.

This is a standout beer.

tmoneyba, May 12, 2009
Photo of Brew33
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had to try a CBS while at Founders taproom in Grand Rapids.

This beer is fantastic. The apperance is similar to KBS, pitch black with a nice tan head. The aroma is distinct and divine. You can tell there is some maple in the nose. The taste is wonderful, it doesn't hit you in the face with Bourbon like KBS. It's more complex, definite sweetness from the maple syrup barrels. Epic. For a stout, it doesn't get much better or complex than this. The alcohol is non existent. The drinkability is incredible for as much as there is going on in this thing. Wow, what a beer. If you can get this, don't hesitate.

Brew33, May 11, 2009
Photo of Bung
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Get to review this as I drink it thanks to the wireless at Founders.
Dark black pour with many brown hints swirling around. Strong cream colored head that reduces to a thin layer like oil on top of water. Really sticks to the glass. When I tilt it to the side to bring some of the bubbles onto the glass and tip it the other way, they remain stuck to the glass under the level of the beer for an interesting effect.
Aroma has espresso, mocha and a hint of oak and waffles(with maple syrup of coarse).
Taste is also an interesting blend of the aromas. More bourbon barrel type flavors with the maple throughout the middle, than in the aroma. Almost creamy mouthfeel, similar to it's breatheren. The kind of caramel latte finish lingers for just a bit, but not real long. Alcohol is non-existant as well. Like that there is just slightly less abv in this one compared to their other imperials.
Overall it's safe to say this is another chart topper from Founders. Would go really well with a slab of bacon. I think I prefer the regular KBS just a bit more, will be comparing to the Barrel aged Imperial shortly.
Only drawback thus far is the intense grain scents from the brewing operation throwing off the aroma from time to time.

Bung, May 05, 2009
Photo of Damian
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank on-tap at Dark Lord Day 2009
Served in a plastic cup

The beer poured a deep brown/black with a creamy, mocha-colored head that faded to a lasting frothy cap. Thin rings of lacing trickled down the cup.

The aroma was outstanding. Coffee was most noticeable. Freshly brewed, dark roast coffee to be precise. Semi-sweet and smooth with notes of vanilla and oats.

The taste was very similar to the aroma. Again, coffee dominated. Coffee grounds specifically came to mind. Deep, dark and rich. Bourbony with notes of brown sugar. The finish was woody and oaky. A touch of maple syrup appeared as well. Overall, the flavor profile was similar to KBS, except a bit sweeter.

The mouthfeel was medium/full bodied. Smooth and supple. Creamy, frothy and pillowy.

Drinkability was quite good. This was a tasty, rich and complex brew. The 9.4% ABV was very well masked by the intense flavor profile.

I was really impressed with this beer. Even though the addition of maple syrup did little flavor-wise, it really helped to mellow out the roasty bitterness in this brew. Definitely seek this one out, if you can find it!

Damian, May 04, 2009
Photo of coldmeat23
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Approx 50 degrees
Had on-tap @ Founder's on 4-22-2009

Pours dark black, like KBS. One-finger head of creamy mocha colored foam which leaves a nice ring around the glass sides. Lacing is spotty, but pretty slick.

The maple syrup definitely finds your sense of smell first. Surprisingly, it is hand-in-hand with the coffee and chocolate notes from KBS. This one smells so deliciously inviting. It's like chocolate chip pancakes with coffee, in a glass. Mmmmm, breakfast time!

It almost tastes like KBS to begin with. Lots of deep, dark chocolate notes mixing with dark roasted coffee notes. Then you get a touch of maple sweetness, on the finish. The good part is that as you continue taking sips, the maple builds up and becomes more prominent. It only gets to a point of equality with the other flavors though. It never overpowers them.
This is super tasty and nicely balanced.

Good, full body. Nice and thick. Slightly oily. Smooth and velvet like.

Good, smooth and easy to drink. Here's another brew that I wish Founder's would start bottling. I'm fairly certain that I prefer it to KBS.
I want more, please!

coldmeat23, May 01, 2009
Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,350 ratings.