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Founders CBS Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Founders CBS Imperial StoutFounders CBS Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

961 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 961
Hads: 4,070
Avg: 4.63
pDev: 18.36%
Wants: 4,197
Gots: 750 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout | 10.60% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CRJMellor on 02-01-2009

Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) is the epitome of why we launched the Backstage Series: to bring some of our most sought-after beers, which have been available primarily at the taproom or at a few select events, to a much larger audience.

Canadian Breakfast Stout is an Imperial Stout brewed with a blend of coffees and imported chocolates, then aged in spent bourbon barrels that have most recently been aging pure Michigan maple syrup.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 961 | Hads: 4,070
Photo of costanzo_mike
4.61/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a dark brown/black color. Bourbony, glassy look to the lacing that floats on top of the beer. Smell is dominated by bourbon, coffee and some maple. Bourbon is strong but not overbearing on the taste, coffee comes through with some maple taste at the end. Smooth mouthfeel, some stickiness.

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Photo of Hootie159
4.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours a midnight brown. Foam is surprisingly light colored but stays very well. A lot of bourbon and booze on the nose. Some notes of coffee and chocolate as well but a little hidden behind. Still nice. More oak on the taste than I was expecting. The sweet and sting of the bourbon is nice. More of a drier rye bourbon. Gives it some oomph. Sweet chocolate and some coffee. Maple comes in at the end. Very smooth. Light carbonation. That bourbon and maple really stick, it's nice.

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Photo of Iamjeff6
4.27/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Having wanted this beer since I got into craft beer I was hyped to finally be able to try it. It is a good beer but I guess the hype and anticipation outweighed how good the beer is. Im glad I got to try it but wouldn't give up my cellar for a bottle.

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Photo of Trevor11
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely incredible. Had at 2015 Founders takeover at Crane Alley in Champaign, Illinois. One of my favorite beers of all time. So sweet with the maple syrup. Miles better than KBS 2015.

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Photo of BerkshireGuerrilla
4.07/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just recently got this on draft, served in a snifter. It poured tar black with no head or lacing. The nose was filled with chocolate and toffee. Taste wise it was very chocolatey with a little coffee, definitely wasn't as warm/boozy as KBS and the bourbon notes are very subdued. I didn't get much maple flavor from it, subtle at best. Glad I tried it but definitely a lot of hype and not a lot of bite.

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Photo of themaj
1.51/5  rDev -67.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Def cooked!! And by cooked I mean way past prime. Smelled of funk and gym socks. Taste of rotten black licorice. Very disappointed in what I gave up for this beer.

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Photo of frozyn
4.94/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Intense coffee aroma. Great melding of coffee, chocolate, and bourbon flavors with just the right sweetness from the maple syrup. I wish the aroma had a bit more dimension, but this is a fantastic beer that deserves the praise it gets.

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Photo of TheElectricOne
4.75/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Doherty's Ale house, added from notes:

Appearance: deep, obsidian black in body, with a tiny rim of dark brown on the edges when swirled. Thin, but persistent mocha-colored head, that dissipates after a minute or two into a slim collar around the edge of the glass.

Aroma: One of the most balanced and delectable smelling stouts I've had. You can smell the maple and bourbon from a yard away, if not more. Upon closer sniffin' around, the beer has a layer of coffee roast in addition to the obvious and pungent maple and barrel scent. The whole bar smelled of CBS.

Taste: one of my favorite types of beer, the maple stout. This one does not disappoint at all. Tastes like rich milk chocolate, with layer upon layer of decadent, dessert-y flavors. Bitter roast of coffee, vanilla and wood from the bourbon barrel, and lots of maple syrup. It's a fantastic, amalgamation of flavor.

Feel: heavy and viscous, although it isn't as high in percentage as some double/imp stouts, it delivers fully in body.

Overall: one of the top 10 beers I've ever tasted in all likelihood, and second only to Good Morning in terms of maple-y stouts.

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Photo of RichD
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap. This was the white whale that I could have only dreamed of having since I had tasted my first craft beer 4-5 years ago.

L: Pours a pitch, impenetrable black with a small dark khaki colored had that became nothing but a ring after a few second. I hold this up to the light and see nothing but black.

S: Smells of coffee, alcohol (at first) and a faint maple sweetness. I pick up some chocolate as well. This smells very nice, but the initial pour that I had was colder than it should be. As this warmed, the aroma became more pronounced and the coffee and maple were able to shine.

T: As previously mentioned, the initial pour was pretty cold which yielded some alcohol. I am rating this on what I tasted as this warmed. Coffee and sweet bourbon come through in a strong way. There is a sweetness that is brought forth by the maple syrup that makes this very desirable. The flavors mesh well together and the way this beer is constructed, each flavor is able to shine through throughout the experience. I have had more maple forward coffee stouts, but as a Founders barrel aged stout, I get exactly what I'm expecting, which is a smooth, well rounded stout.

F: This feels higher than the 10.6% that Founders says this is. This is a thick, chewy stout, but it's pretty easy to drink. I was able to polish off 12 ounces of this in a relatively short time. As this warms, the alcohol presence predictably disappears and allows this stout to become smoother and well balanced.

Overall: I had supremely high hopes for this beer. This was the beer that I dreamed to have when I first started getting into craft beer. I actually started drinking craft beer about a month after this beer was released. This beer had some sentimental value to me as it was released on the day that my grandmother passed away. I put this beer on my list of white whales with the understanding that I may never try this in my life. This beer lives up to the hype for me. It is not as coffee or maple forward as some other beers that I have had. However, CBS is a beer brings flavors together in a way that other breweries cannot do. I am completely satisfied and if I ever see this beer available again, I will not hesitate to order it.

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Photo of tmentzer
4.65/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

For look and smell, this was at a festival in the drizzle, so kinda hard to tell. The flavor, however, was amazing. I thought at first it was a tiny bit too sweet, until I had another (4.25+ on BA) imperial stout that proved just how balanced CBS is. This beer is just perfectly balanced, truly amazing. I always want a tiny bit more carbonation in these, but even this was a minor detractor. So delicious.

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Photo of dfillius
4.52/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Beggar's Banquet, East Lansing, MI on 12/9/14. Served in a 12 oz. snifter
A: Pitch black liquid, ring of brown lace. More head please.
S: Some molasses, some whiskey (not hot), maple syrup, lots of vanilla and chocolate.
T: Sweet, molasses, licorice, cane sugar. Not hot. Maybe a tad too sweet. A bit more roast would be nice. Slight coffee and chocolate in the aftertaste as it warms.
M: Warm, but not hot. Silky. Not roasty.
O: Very good. This whale fell in my lap - surprise release today! It was worth the wait. Quite good.

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Photo of RJIV
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

8 oz pour (2015)
Dark black pour. Small dirty head.
Smells of slight vanilla, roastiness, sweetness. Very mouthwatering.
The smell follows through on the taste. Up front the roastiness and barrel character come through (vanilla, slight wood). There is no heat in the aftertaste, just a nice sweetness that lingers.
The mouthfeel is thick and completely coats the mouth.

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Photo of jjdc
4.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Hey, this is a really solid beer. Great coffee and maple. Super clean and bright for a BA stout. The flavors really sing. With that said, it's not really a top 10 all time for me.

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Photo of LAp
4.69/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Had this beer in a 12oz snifter at a KBS-CBS-Blushing Monk tasting event. Beautiful pitch black pour with a dark khaki head. Mouthfeel is on the thicker side like its other breakfast stout brethren. The syrupy-sweet of the maple syrup really builds on the (already excellent) smell of KBS, and adds another layer to the taste, but 4 or 5 ounces in, that sweetness starts to get cloying. Ultimately the maple syrup addition is a nice tweak to an already phenomenal base beer, but compounding the saccharine notes of bourbon with still-more-saccharine maple syrup was a little much for my tastes. Though I'd place the standard KBS higher on my personal list, this is the superior choice for anyone who wants to go sweeter still. Regardless, personal nitpicks aside, this is an incredible beer.

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Photo of govlady
4.79/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

on tap at a CBS release party. poured pitch black. smelled coffee, chocolate, bourbon, hint of maple syrup. i expected to taste more maple, but definitely tasted the chocolate, bourbon, coffee. fairly thin, would love it to be a tad thicker. overall, an amazing beer. obviously had very high expectations for it, and it's right up there with the best of them.

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Photo of BIll_Currie
4.2/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

i finally got my hands on this one. i had to pay dearly and i had HIGH expectations. I dont know if the bottle was stored properly or what but this wasnt as good as I had hoped. Still a great beer. maple syrup was very pronounced. not overly boozy. great beer. i'd love to try a fresh one to compare

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Photo of yungbrew
3.09/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Too maple syrupy and sweet for me. Way too sweet. KBS is much better.

This resembles a mixture breakfast sausage and vanilla, doused in maple syrup.
And I mean that in the worst way possible.

It Looked great. Didn't smell bad either. I'm sorry but the taste is just gross.

Don't get me wrong it's still a decent beer but I don't think this is world class at all. I would give it like an 80 out of 100

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Photo of DavidHume
4.79/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L: Pitch black, with a persistent khaki head.

S: Bourbon and maple up front, followed by chocolate, coffee, and vanilla.

T: Bourbon-soaked fudge leads, followed by maple sugar and crème brûlée. I could drink this forever. The finish is complex: bourbon, maple syrup, and chocolate, fading into oak and coffee.

F: Not as thick as it could be, but not overly thin, either.

O: A world-class barrel-aged stout. Not worth a two-hour line, but decidedly delicious.

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Photo of Austin32
4.46/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This was a great beer....but after all the hype and build up I agree with reviews that say it was rather thin....still very good but not one that quite lived up to its legend for me.

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Photo of Scottyg33
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this at the tap room during KBS week. Probably the best beer I have ever had. The maple sweetness taste caps off the chocolate/coffee/bourbon flavor and all works perfect together. Not to sweet and not to strong. Can't wait to have it again

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Photo of Klaerity
3.9/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

i had this on tap... loads of licorice and chocolate, some brownie like fudge oak has given a red wine like bitterness which i dont like too much, this is pretty good but was disappointing!! its very thin..

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Photo of Saudereth
4.54/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer didn't do as much as I hoped it would for me. It was well executed but the maple linger was the only thing that really set it apart from a lot of the well done coffee stout world. I'd still rather drink BCBCS. I'll be revisiting this in a couple weeks when I have another shot at this beer.

Served: January 2015, Rustico Arlington, Mini-snifter.

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Photo of jmasher85
4.56/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A hint sweeter than I'd have wanted, but that's the nature of the beast - the beast being the crazy amount of maple syrup in there. I'd take the KBS over this one, probably, but let's be real here: this is the epitome of the style. Smoother than it should be, and reasonably balanced, but the flavor tips over to maple pretty heavily. Still, you get a fair share of chocolate, wood, practically no bitterness, and a decent head but mild carbonation. Rich and succulent, this would be the perfect desert beer after a hefty steak and paired with some chocolate cake or something, or just sipped by itself beside a fire. Not worth the 5 star rating, but get some if you can!

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Photo of BigBadBeerSnob
4.76/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Enjoyed from keg of the 2014 batch at Ray's Beer Gallery. Pours a deep dark toasty stout. The noise was immediately of carmel and maple syrup. Not very boozy and easy to drink (I went back for a 2nd pour of 16oz)

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Photo of Stevem68
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Quite simply the best beer I've ever had. Had it on draft. Color is a deep rich chocolate black. Has a wonderful aroma, everything is in balance, you get coffee, chocolate, bourbon & maple syrup, has a touch of booziness. For as heavy as this could be, it drank incredibly smooth. A perfect blend of coffee, chocolate, bourbon & maple syrup. All the flavors complement each other and none over power. Leaves a great chocolate and coffee aftertaste. My mind is blown. A complexity of flavors that keep evolving through the drinking experience. Love this beer

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Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 961 ratings.