1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Founders CBS Imperial Stout - Founders Brewing Company

Founders CBS Imperial StoutFounders CBS Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,268 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2268
Reviews: 752
rAvg: 4.66
pDev: 10.09%

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
Ratings: 2,268 | Reviews: 752 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of facundoCNB

New Jersey

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

a thick black pour with half a finger of head which quickly turned into a ring of small brown bubbles around the glass. smells of dark chocolate, coffee, slight hint of vanilla/bourbon barrel, subtle sweet maple/caramel scent. oh dear god this is PHENOMENAL. sweet, oh so sweet of a nectar. definitely getting lots of maple, lots of barrel flavor, sweet milk chocolate, mocha flavors. i've never had such a sweet delicious stout.

full body with low carbonation, a syrupy delight to enter your mouth.

i know this beer is hyped like all hell, and let me tell you, it IS all it's worked up to be. i've had fbs, and kbs, and this is nothing like either. i believe this is the best stout i've had to date.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2013 20:49:46 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of PsilohsaiBiN

New York

4.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75


Appearance: Very dark, as expected, with a small tan head that quickly fades to the perimeter.

Smell: Rich chocolate, bourbon, caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar.

Taste: Matches up perfectly to the nose. A hit of maple syrup gives way to chocolate and coffee deliciousness. A smack of bourbon hits afterward and lingers into the finish with some dark chocolate and carmelized sugar. Really drinkable for the abv, and blended really well. I just honestly don't see how you can improve on this. Alcohol is hidden really well, just tasty.

Mouthfeel: Perfect consistency for this style. It's just right, full and heavy without being extremely viscous.

Overall: Too bad I didn't get to taste this fresh. I've heard all the stories of faded maple, but I can definitely taste it throughout the course of the drink and that extra element makes me like this that much more. If it's even sweeter with more syrup character, I might like it even more. The bourbon dominates here, but that extra maple dimension adds to the complexity nicely. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2013 02:14:57 | More by PsilohsaiBiN
Photo of beerdrifter


4.1/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up in a great trade with Evan! Really thick pitch black pour with a one finger caramel colored head that fades quickly with great lacing. Huge complex woody nose. Tons of roasty coffee and maple up front along with plenty of dark chocolate and hints of bourbon, vanilla, and caramel. The taste is just as big and is also dominated by the sweet maple syrup, roasty coffee, and bourbon. Also getting hints of licorice, bitter chocolate, vanilla, molasses, caramel, and toffee. The mouthfeel is thick and syrupy with a subtle creaminess and a touch of booziness on the finish. Overall, this is just a tad bit too sweet for my taste. And it fell a little short of all the hype. Would love to try it fresh and see how it compares. Still an awesome beer from one of the best!

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2013 22:12:20 | More by beerdrifter
Photo of Malty_Matty


4.3/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- looks like spent motor oil. Coats the glass as you drink with almost no head.

S- coffee bourbon and maple.

T- the maple is subdued, coffee dominates the overall flavor profile, there are also some strong hints of dark chocolate.

M- thick and sticky. What more can you ask in a stout?

All in all I don't think it lives up to the hype. It's a great beer but the coffee really needs se subtlety.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2013 01:18:23 | More by Malty_Matty
Photo of DrHopHead


3.53/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I wasn't as impressed with this beer as I am of the KBS. Founders makes some great beers and I am not knocking it, but it wasn't as good as I had expected. The Frangelic Mountain is like heaven in a glass though. Keep making great beers Founders and to all the great breweries in Michigan!!!!

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2013 20:10:39 | More by DrHopHead
Photo of emsjf


4.96/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Everything with the aroma and taste is so well-blended. After a year in the bottle, this brew really tastes like nothing I've had before.

CBS is definitely on the sweeter side, the maple syrup bourbon barrels deliver that, but not overly sweet. Roasty coffee and chocolate balance out the palate.

Super hyped brew, but in this case - believe the hype.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2013 18:39:24 | More by emsjf
Photo of ThePorterSorter


4.05/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to laxer8811 for bringing this..."relief bottle" for our infected beer tasting! The bottle is almost a year aged at this point.

The beer pours a jet black with almost no head. The nose is distinctly woody and sweet with a touch of bitter chocolate. I'm intrigued...the taste is a punch of distinct maple with a bit of licorice, chocolate, and roasty malts. I don't get the coffee as much as in a bottle of FBS. The mouthfeel is rich and flavorful, fudgy and slightly bitter, with a lingering roastiness. This is one of the most distinctly flavorful stouts I've had, but it doesn't pop with flavors as I'd expected. It's definitely a unique experience, but I'm not sure it's worth the tremendous hype trying to get a bottle unless it's re-released and consumed fresh.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2013 21:15:36 | More by ThePorterSorter
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A tasty beer, and credit for that, but I tell you up front coffee and maple syrup, both in huge abundance on top of their regular breakfast stout, is not my preferred choices. I would rather tuned up chocolate. Lots of true coffee, even the taste of creme (though I understand no real creme used). Very filling, the maple syrup seems added in. Above average mouthfeel,, though not as thick as one could imagine. Thanks to Mike at Champane's for putting this one aside for me.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 01:08:15 | More by Sammy
Photo of Rinkor16


4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Opened on 12/28/12. Tasted alongside BCBCS, Hunahpu's and Black Tuesday.

A: Jet black with very little head that stuck around.

S: Tons of chocolate, roasty malt and maple.

T: Chocolate with roasted malt in the front, followed by some nice maple and slight bourbon taste. The maple wasn't as prominent as I thought it would be, but it was definitely still there.

M: The right amount of carbonation and very smooth. Enjoyable for sure.

O: Definitely lived up to the hype for me. I wish the maple was more present, but it was still an excellent beer. Loved it!

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 05:48:04 | More by Rinkor16
Photo of comfortablynumb1


4.13/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Andrew for sending this one my way. Had at a blind tasting with a Black Tuesday, 11 BCBS, Pugachev's Cobra, and Huna...

A - Pours black with one finger brown head that dissipates at good pace. Lacing is minimal...

S - Chocolate, roasted malts, coffee, oak/vanilla, and bourbon. Maple is in the mix, but is fairly muted...

T - Chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts up front. Oak, vanilla, and bourbon on the end. Bourbon is very smooth, and the maple is just underwhelming. Chocolate comes across very nicely, but I was expecting more maple/ sweetness...

M - Rich and creamy with a decent amount of carboantion for the style. Sits somewhere on the lower end of the full bodied spectrum...

O - My least favorite of the BA beers we had at the blind tasting. Would have liked to see how this would have stacked up fresh...


Serving type: bottle

12-11-2012 00:36:17 | More by comfortablynumb1
Photo of srv33


4.78/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If there is a beer in heaven, this is it. Quite similar to KBS, but more refined, more complexity, more smooth, and more sweet. It pours a near pitch black, scent of bourbon, maple syrup, caramel malt, chocolate, and so many other wonderfully balanced flavors. The mouthfeel is smooth, balanced, complex, and not too heavy - really just right. This is game over, Founders won. Wish I had a case of this...

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2012 21:54:28 | More by srv33
Photo of HopsHopenstein


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

Reviewed from notes taking on 8/26/12

Poured into Kate the Great snifter

Thanks to huskermike for this 1.

A- jet black with 1/2 finger mocha head. Appearance is great for the style. Cant wait to smell and drink this bad boy.

S- chocolate, coffee, roasted malt everything that makes big stouts amazing. Then throw in some maple and bourbon barrel notes just to add another level of awesome to it.

T- Big chocolate, coffee, vanilla notes up front followed by roasted malt and more fresh coffee, chocolate and barrel character. The maple comes through to me in the end to really smooth everything out and rounds this stout out with the perfect finish.

O- "FEED ME MORE!!!" wow favorite stout to date (as of 8/26/12). I have had this beer on draft before at Armsby Abbey for stoutfest and didnt have the opportunity to review it. I had heard this beer might have fallen off a touch in the bottle, I disagree. This beer was as good as the first time I had it on draft. Amazing beer well worth the hype. I hope to land another 1 of these in the future. Maybe Founders will answer the call and find a way to remake this guy again.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 21:45:28 | More by HopsHopenstein
Photo of kylelenk


4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Review from Oct. 2011.

A: Didn't produce a ton of head room. Like most Founders Stouts, what it did have dissipated quickly and left a jet black glass of liquid. So dark it could black out the sun.

S: A little too fresh during this tasting. Bourbon was way too present which easily overpowered almost all of the other notes.

T: Heavy. Still torn on whether I prefer KBS over CBS. I've had KBS properly cellared and love the vanilla/sweet notes that come out and replace the bourbon. Unfortunately, this fresh, I felt that the bourbon was way too overpowering. The ale still had a wonderful taste and is definitely at the top of my favorite beers list.

M: Thick, like having a full breakfast and enjoying a glass of bourbon. Once again, that fresh, I still wish I would have let it sit awhile.

O: I've heard and read that it didn't age as well as expected. The KBS I've enjoyed the best has sit for 6-12 months before enjoying. Founders has sided against aging their beers as they feel they age them enough before release. Still, I feel this would have been knockout in between the said timeframe as it would have had opportunity to sweeten up and bourbon down.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2012 22:34:40 | More by kylelenk
Photo of beergod1


4.45/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally!!! World Wine and Liquor in Mentor Ohio during Cleveland Beer Week Broke out 1 of my Most anticipated big beers I have yet to try. Thank you Brendan. Unfortunatly only a 5oz. sample, Pours jet black with a fluffy brown head. Smell is largely like the Breakfast Stout or KBS, with dark malts, brown sugar, and coffee, with just a hint of maple. The maple really comes on more on the finish, balancing out the roasted malt and coffee for a memorable Beer. It’s a "Touch" too sweet, it’s not too bitter, But it is fantastic.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2012 12:54:27 | More by beergod1
Photo of sukwonee


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

2011 vintage bottle.

Happy birthday to me!

A: No head. Just dark brown / black motor oil like body.

S: Smells like KBS but sweeter. Coffee, dark chocolate, brown sugar, and unlike what many say, I still get maple syrup note.

T: Delicious. Although I think I prefer KBS over this, CBS is basically smoother and sweeter KBS. Bitterness is there but it's balanced out by the syrupy sweetness. KBS is a sweet beer but compared to this, not so much. Bourbon, Coffee, dark chocolate, brown sugar, maple syrup/honey, tad bit of hoppy bitterness and alcohol notes towards the end.

M: Surprisingly, carbonation is there (unlike how it looks). Thick, syrupy, chewy.

O: This is definitely one of my top 10 beers, but I honestly slightly prefer KBS over this. Maybe I got lucky with my bottle, but maple aroma and taste was still there, although very subtle.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2012 03:33:59 | More by sukwonee
Photo of ThickNStout


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

750mL bottle from Sherlock's (Marietta, GA). 17.99. Bottled 09/11, I believe. Served in a Terrapin snifter.

Pours jet black with a thick, slowly receding deep mocha head. Small patches of laces.

Aromas of coffee, dark chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla and a hint of alcohol. A different blend each time I go back to smell it again.

Wow! A smooth intense sweet blend of chocolate, coffee, bourbon, vanilla, maple, cherry pits, smokey wood, leather and of course some hot booze. A lot going on in here.

Creamy thick full feel with medium light carbonation. Long bourbon coffee aftertaste.

Despite the naysayers I firmly stand by my decision to hang on to this for a year. Yes, the maple syrup has faded but so has the bourbon and that allows all those other flavors to shine through. It also feels creamier and a little thicker. Rich, sweet, complex and outstanding.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2012 03:05:32 | More by ThickNStout
Photo of Samichlaus82


4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a very dark brown with medium creamy tan head leaving sticky lacing along the glass. The aroma is a light roast vanilla oak and caramel. Medium mouthfeel with sweet malt and light roast and sweet finish. Hides the alcohol very well making it easy to drink. Really enjoyed this one, a very impressive Imperial stout that definitely lived up to the hype.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2012 09:08:45 | More by Samichlaus82
Photo of ngeunit1


4.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours a dark brown-black color with a finger of frothy chocolate colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is maple syrup, Bourbon, vanilla, oak, roasted chocolate malts, roasted coffee, black licorice, lactose, a hint of dark fruit, and just a touch of booze.

T - Starts off with a mix of roasted milk chocolate malts, vanilla, black licorice, and a touch of dark fruit. Through the middle, roasted coffee comes through with some good maple syrup, Bourbon, and oak, and a bit of molasses. The finish is a mix of roasted milk chocolate, roasted coffee, maple syrup, Bourbon, vanilla, oak, molasses, and a bit of booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a warming, sweet, and roasty finish.

D - Very drinkable. Fantastic balance with the coffee, chocolate, Bourbon, and maple coming together just right.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2012 05:04:48 | More by ngeunit1
Photo of EgadBananas


4.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to JM03!

Pours black, with a minimal brownish coloured head, no lace.

The aroma was oak, vanilla, maple, touches of bourbon, sweet chocolate, hints of coffee roast.

Slighter bourbon-y notes on the taste, more maple, rich vanilla, woody notes, bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee.

Full bodied, thick, slightly viscous, with a rich feel.

It's super drinkable. You can't get really any alcohol, and the maple sweetness balances out the bourbon notes, making it remarkably smooth but complex. This might not have been as good as it is fresh, but it's still a pretty remarkably wonderful beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2012 11:56:03 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of Thehuntmaster

South Africa

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

750ml bottle 10,6% Abv.
Served lightly chilled in an over sized wine glass.
No visible bottle date.

A massive thanks to Futura123 for hooking me up with this huge want of mine!

Appearance: CBS is one great looking imperial stout! The body looks pitch black in the glass, with a strong back light only revealing a hint of light along the edge of the glass. A rough pour yields a large, creamy, mocha coloured head that lasts really well for the Abv. and leaves some good patches of lace clinging to the upper parts of the glass.

Smell: Ah man, this smells absolutely fantastic! The initial nose is all chocolate - cocoa dusted chocolate mousse, sweet dark chocolate and chocolate liqueur all come to mind. Soon a wonderful array of other notes join the chocolate. Sweet coffee, toffee, dark caramel, oak, bourbon, sweet maple syrup, a little vanilla, honey comb (the one in chocolates, not bee's wax) and light dark fruits are all easily noted.

Taste: Wow and I thought the nose was good! The flavour takes all the notes from the nose and intensifies them, resulting in one of the most delicious beers I have had to date. The combination of chocolate, coffee, sweet maple and bourbon is absolutely mind blowing and each sip seems to be unique in its composition of those elements. Due to the complexity of the interactions of the flavour components I will simply list some of the observed flavours. Notes include: Sweet dark chocolate, cocoa, chocolate mousse, chocolate liqueur, dark caramel, sweet toffee, dark fruits, sweet maple syrup, oak, vanilla and a hint of liquorice.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and fairly sticky, with a medium level of wonderfully smooth carbonation. I usually prefer my imperial stouts to have a slightly lower level of carbonation, but on the plus side, it does make CBS fantastically (even dangerously) drinkable.

Overall: CBS certainly lives up to the hype - this is a phenomenal imperial stout and one I wish I could have again and again.

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2012 19:13:05 | More by Thehuntmaster
Photo of BuckyFresh


4.73/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. Thanks goes out to TCHopCraver for supplying this epic beer!

Appearance: Poured from a 750ml bottle into a large snifter. This beer comes out thick and black as midnight on a moonless night. If jostled, some reddish/amber light can be seen shining through the edges of the glass. Head is mocha colored, average in height, and recedes slowly.

Smell: Aroma is filled with roasted malt, dark chocolate, molasses, coffee, and some maple/caramel sweetness.

Taste: Wonderful blend of chocolate, coffee, molasses, maple, toffee, caramel, and a whisper of hops. Every element is perfectly joined with the whole. Just awesome.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is full and really coats your mouth as you drink. Well balanced, with just the right amount of carbonation.

Overall: This beer lived up to my expectations and more. Very well balanced and just a tad more drinkable than the KBS version. I will seek this beer out whenever possible!

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2012 15:25:28 | More by BuckyFresh
Photo of beagle75


3.58/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Opaque black color with one finger of diminishing beige foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass.

S: Coffee is immediately evident, followed by reedy wood and intense vanilla. Coffee fades somewhat as the beer warms, replaced by dark and rustic grain. Some pure bourbon is also present, although the smell is only slightly boozy.

T: Begins off-dry, with aggressive carbonic acidity and dark chocolate. Flavors sweeten into the middle alongside potent anise that dominates the palate for a few beats. The finish begins to dry out, allowing for husky roasted malt and freshly-ground coffee to close the profile on an earthy and moderately bitter note. Hints of bourbon and vanilla linger on the palate, but essentially no alcohol is detected.

M: Thick viscosity, syrupy and slightly acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This beer exhibits powerful sensory qualities, even for an imperial stout. It is also a bit of a mess, although the end result is palatable. Founders KBS can be wildly inconsistent from bottle to bottle; this value-added rendition comes across as an average effort on the KBS scale--neither a disappointment nor a home run.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2012 02:55:27 | More by beagle75
Photo of dbossman


4.78/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a thin but surprisingly steady chocolate brown head and lacing is quite nice

S: Wow, that smells delicious: coffee up front with roasted chocolate malts and subtle bourbon, boozy aroma; some sweet molasses, dark fruit, maple syrup underneath too

T: Oh my goodness that is a sweet, boozy, awesome, complex beer: maple syrup is much more prevalent in the flavors than the aromas but the chocolate, coffee, and bourbon play so well off of it; there is a roasty and almost smokey undertone with plenty of brown sugar and dark fruits and boozy bourbon in the finish

F: Such a thick, viscous, cream, oily beer; mouth feel is perfect

O: This is nearly perfect; one of the best beers I have ever had; so many flavors but they work so well off of each other

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2012 19:10:03 | More by dbossman
Photo of dvmin98

North Carolina

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

I have had CBS several times at tastings, etc, but this was the first time I've had the cooyans to actually crack open one of my bottles. Enjoyed it with a couple of friends (lucky bastards).

A - Deep brown color with 1/2 inch of head

S - bourbon, coffee, chocolatey

T - best tasting beer I have ever had. I couldn't get enough. I was literally rubbing the glass with my finger to get every last drop. Bourbon, coffee, chocolatey, with sweetness. The maple is just a hint, but just the perfect amount.

M - creamy and thick with a very full body

O - Best beer I have ever had. I have two bottles left and can't wait to open them up and enjoy them, but only for a special occasion.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2012 13:50:25 | More by dvmin98
Photo of yamar68


4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to crunkchiggin2002 for getting this fine specimen to me! Poured from the bottle to a small brandy snifter. Vintage 2011 and an extremely high fill.

Pours an inky jet black with edges of mahogany clarity. A finger of soft brown head swells and then recedes to a fine milky collar. Fantastic lacing and a bit of legging.

Massive on the nose - bourbon is far more apparent than I was anticipating. Cocoa puffs, caramel, faint bitter coffee, rich sweet syrupy bits, more cocoa, molasses, maple, burnt wood, so incredibly complex. Not cluttered, just very intriguing.

Holy fuck. No wonder this thing was so hard to get. If I had any of this sitting in my basement, I can guarantee you that I wouldn't be giving any up. I can't dissect the flavors without first mentioning the perfect velvet consistency. That said, the flavors are monstrous and varied - the maple-y bourbon takes the lead, big cocoa, more simple syrup, a touch of black licorice, more booze than I had hoped for, vanilla, caramel, charred wood, milk chocolate. Likely the most complex beer that I've ever had. Delicious and challenging.

This beer is fantastic. I probably won't try to land another bottle as it cost me an arm and a leg, but I am very glad that I sprung for it just this once. Highly, highly recommended. And if you have the ammunition to land a bottle, fucking do it.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2012 23:41:57 | More by yamar68
Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,268 ratings.