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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.

2,336 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,336
Reviews: 754
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 10.09%
Wants: 2,891
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:
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: 2,336 | Reviews: 754 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of BirdFlu
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

(reviewed from notes taken at extreme beer fest 09)

This is, without a doubt.. the greatest beer I have ever had in my entire life..
If you are familiar with KBS, imagine taking that, easing the bourbon and general brown liquor character, then inject it with pure maple syrup and you can just start to understand how incredible this beer is.. Again, similar mouthfeel and such to KBS, similar consistency and viscosity. Also a similarly strong aroma, but, again, with much sweeter of an essence. Sweet like pancakes, not like candy.
If there is ever one truly great thing which we, here on BA.com and as advocates of great beer in general, may hope to do for the universe of beer... it would be getting this beer released for real, if only in short supply. It was truly, the greatest beer I could even imagine.

BirdFlu, May 01, 2009
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.3/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another offering from the insane guest tap list from DL day.
Pours very dark brown in color. There's just a ring of froth around the perimeter of the glass. Smell is black roasted coffee, some cocoa and a very nice, rich maple smell. The maple flavors really shine in the flavor. It takes the edge off the harshness of the black coffee and really sweetens it up and smooths it out. I actually am thinking that I prefer this to the regular breakfast stout. Still huge and somewhat cloying in the mouthfeel. Very good beer. Very happy I got to try so many one off crazy beers this year. I consider myself lucky.

FtownThrowDown, Apr 29, 2009
Photo of emerge077
4.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Closed out the day with 2 pours of this at DLD '09.

Looked much like KBS in the glass, a thin cap of dark brown creamy mocha foam that gently stuck to the sides. Black oily liquid. Fantastic maple aroma that took the edge off the raw coffee roast, and sweetened it up ever so slightly. Smooth and supple feel, low carbonation, almost slippery. Rich chocolate & bitter coffee elements from the stout, soft maple traces, and buttery vanilla from the barrel. ABV was well hidden, and I had no problem finishing the 10+/- ounces that were combined in one cup. The maple syrup/bourbon barrel really added a nice extra dimension to it, without too much additional sweetness. This was the only guest tap I sampled at DLD, and I felt lucky to try it, though that doesn't factor into the score.

emerge077, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of Kegatron
4.83/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap @ Founders Brewing Company on 4/23/09. 8 oz pour served in a snifter.

Pours black as an oil slick with a 1/2 finger of frothy burnt mocha colored head that spreads out across the surface. This just flares up beautifully when swirled, leaving a rich cascade of foam and brown oily residues back. Awesome! The delicious smelling stickiness of the maple syrup is the first thing that sticks in the nose but I'm also quite surprised by how much of the fresh smelling coffee and chocolate character of the regular Breakfast Stout is coming through as well. The mix of these two elements just smells fantastic! Digging at bit deeper in the nose, I'm also picking up some light barrel notes of wood and vanilla underneath, that give the nose even a touch more depth.

The taste quite frankly, is delicious. Crunchy roasted coffee character and a deep undercurrent of chewy chocolate malts, wrapped up in that same slickly sweet (and a touch boozy) taste of maple syrup notes. Really nice balance here with the flavors just intermingling effortlessly. Finishes very sweet with notes of syrup and chocolate just COATING the palate at times. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a huge mouth filling nature that is both creamy and slick at the same time and a feel that just slathers the mouth with flavors. Overall this just flows so easily in the mouth, with the ABV being dangerously hidden. Fantastic.

Wow. Now this is a Breakfast Stout! Not only do you get coffee but now you also get maple syrup covered chocolate chip pancakes! Seriously, this stuff was just damn tasty, easy as hell to drink for the size, and honestly, I think that I prefer this to the KBS. More please!

Kegatron, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of nrbw23
4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Lord Day guest brew split with a fellow BA fiveo2270.

A- Pours a dark black color with pretty much no head but a ring of brownish colored bubbles around the ring.

S- I thought this one smelled pretty much just like KBS with maybe a hint of sweetness from the maple syrup and a bit more vanilla.

T- Again I thought it reminded me a lot of KBS probably since I just drank one a couple days before the big event. I did think this one was a little sweeter than the KBS. Man, I'd love to do a side by side of this one. A bit sweeter in taste and a lot less of the bourbon flavor in this one.

M- Medium in body and low carbonation.

D- A totally awesome brew just add this one to the list of awesome Founders brews. I hope this one keeps coming year after year and hopefully bottled sometime down the road.

nrbw23, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another DLD '09 sample review.

Not much head, but a stubborn collar that never quite went away. The aroma was intense chocolate and roasty malt with a candyish maple, but genuine, no Golden Griddle in sight.

The taste I think I actually prefer to KBS as I like maple more than whiskey <gasp>..it's true!

Plenty of rich roasted malts, coffee and chocolate. Despite a day of measured tasting, the intensity of this beer was impressive. The sample size was small but the aftertaste hung around for the patient, allowing me to pick out and concentrate on any particular flavor I wanted as it ever so slowly faded.

The mouthfeel is velvety, thick and viscous.

I shared my glass with a number of attendees, why the *hell* were they not in there getting some of their own?!?! But proof positive that Founders needs to find a way to get this brew bottled and distributed.

brewdlyhooked13, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of gorby10826
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

At DLD 2009, my favorite guest brew. Love this ten times more than KBS.

A- Dark. Slight brown head at the beginning.

S- Chocolate, roast, maple, whiskey.
T- Chocolate, roast, maple. LOL don't mean to repeat but this was a wonderful flavor. Think KBS but less coffee, and a little sweeter and thicker.

M- Thick. Coats the mouth and throat.

D- Yum wish I had more than 6-8oz

My favorite founders stout(and michigan brew).

gorby10826, Apr 27, 2009
Photo of rhinos00
4.78/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Another quality beer on-tap @ DLD 2009. Poured into a plastic cup.

A- Pours a dark, chocolate brown with a vibrant off-white head.

S- The smell was mesmerizing. A nice chocolate roastiness that was tapered with a maple sweetness. The most impressive part was that neither was over done. Just the right amount.

T- Possibly even better than the aroma. The balance was there, yet unique enough to entertain from beginning to end. Initially taste is that of roasted and chocolate malts with a little bit of maple. As the taste progresses, the sweetness of the maple transforms almost to a fruit like finish. What I really liked is the maple wasn't overdone and really complimented the flavors.

M- Nice, thick body that almost makes it feel like a dessert.

D- One of the most drinkable RIS I have had in a while.

Overall, this is definitely my favorite from Founders. I would gladly take this over the KBS and Breakfast Stout.

rhinos00, Apr 27, 2009
Photo of jdflyer06
5/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at DLD 2009. What a way to cap off an exceptional day!

A: Thick, Dark with little or no head.

S: Maple, vanilla and plenty of coffee with some dark chocolate notes. I'm dying to taste this at this point.

M: Smooth and creamy. No bite at all. The alcohol is slightly present at this thing warms, but overall its syrupy and utterly decadent.

T: Maple, coffee, chocolate, vanilla all perfectly balanced and a few more complex, subtle flavors as this one warms. The coffee is more up front on this one than the KBS and of course, the maple syrup makes me hungry for pancakes.

I want more of this! I love the KBS but this brew is absolutely killer. The KBS needs some age to soften up the bourbon heat, but the CBS is nearly perfect right out of the gate. I'll definetely seek this one out again.

jdflyer06, Apr 27, 2009
Photo of stonequarrywest
4.55/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

@ KBS release Day

Dark brown to black pour w/khaki head
Smell the Maple right off the bat..wonderful, with coffee and chocolate backing up the Maple.
Sweet coffe taste like I put syrup in my coffe instead of milk...Pancakes where are you.
Thick/Smooth mouthfeel..with the Alcohol definitely in there..

Great Beer Here.

stonequarrywest, Apr 13, 2009
Photo of jim102864
4.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this for the first time at this year's Extreme Beer Fest and it was love at first sip. Once I realized a business trip was in store in March for MI, I knew I had to seek this out at the source.

This brew is quite simply, nirvana. It's a balance between sweet maple syrup and ale, yet not cloying. A choclately brown color served in a 12 oz pilsner glass at the brewery. A thin tan head graces the surface and lace clings to the glass. It's chocolatey and full mouthfeel blesses the imbiber with each pull. First gracing my tongue at EBF, it again offered an aggressive coffee, maple and chocolate nose. This is meant to be enjoyed in the dead of winter next to a roaring fire. This is as near perfection as you can get. A one off from what the bartenderes tell me due to the difficulty of getting wine barrels in which maple syrup was stored from one supplier. One of the finest brews I've ever had. Only wish they could make this part of their seasonal line-up.

jim102864, Apr 04, 2009
Photo of TheodorHerzl
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap this weekend at Founders for only 5$ a snifter! I love you Founder's you fickle whore of my heart!

A: Pours a very deep black with almost no head and no lacing
S: A wonderus explosion of coffee, maple sugar, oats, and a touch of booze
T: Chocolate, maple brown sugar, wood, boozy, and a splash of vanilla
M: Robust and yet very smooth and goes down so easy for a beer around 10%. I bellied up to three of them while I was there.
D: This would be my imperial stout for good if I could have this beer forever. Just delicious!

TheodorHerzl, Mar 24, 2009
Photo of Thorpe429
4.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at the brewpub on March 22, 2009. Served in a snifter.

A: Very dark and opaque. Little head at all, though a good amount of lacing as it went down. Small amount of carbonation bubbles.

S: Mainly coffee with some vanilla, caramel, and maple. Good smell, but not overpowering.

T: Unbelievable is the only way to describe it--coffee, chocolate, vanilla, maple, caramel. Quite sweet and ever so delicious.

M: Medium to full body with fairly light carbonation. Exceptionally creamy.

D: Absolutely sublime. Much better than the standard Breakfast Stout, and I dare say also significantly better than KBS. Hands down, this is the best-tasting beer I've had to date.

Thorpe429, Mar 22, 2009
Photo of DrewOSU
4.25/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap at Founders Taproom on KBS Day 09.

A: Pours a dark maple brown to black with a 1/8 inch khaki head. Lacing is minimal and spotty.

S: Sweet maple syrup takes over the senses. I smell nothing else, but brown sugar and maple syrup. I think this beer is going to be extraordinarily sweet!

M/T: Lighter bodied then I expected. Medium carbonation bite and a semi sweet taste on the tongue. This beer does not taste ½ as sweet as I thought it would be. The backlash is kind of bitter actually which was surprising. The aftertaste is way intense, maple syrup, sweet malt and the bitterness gets a little overwhelming.

D: Zero drinkability, but definitely an experience. The maple sweetness backs up on the pallet where you have to drink a water in between. Full flavor.

DrewOSU, Mar 16, 2009
Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,336 ratings.