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.

2,266 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2266
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Founders CBS Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,266 | Reviews: 752 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of freehafe


4.93/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap in snifter during bottle release (10/1/11).

A: Dark black pour with light brown/tan thin head, moderate lacing.

S: Smelled sweet, mostly bourbon and coffee, hints of syrup and vanilla.

T: Nice balance of the major elements, coffee, bourbon, and chocolate. Delicate, but present maple syrup taste, not overpowering. Sweet, but balanced.

M: Creamy with a crisp finish.

O: This is now one of my favorite beers, great flavor and balance, deserves the hype. Another great one from Founders.

Serving type: on-tap

10-07-2011 00:22:44 | More by freehafe
Photo of Crftbrfan

West Virginia

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

2011 bottle release. Poured into dogfish sig glass

A - jet black no light. 4 finger mocha head on first pour. Really large bubbles. Dissapted quickly

S - lots or roasted coffee, slight oak and vanilla. More of the bourbon and maple comes thru as it warms

T - bitter coffee upfront, smoothest into maples sweetness and tinge of bourbon. Little bit or oaky vanilla

M - smooth and creamy

O - really impressed. Lived up to the hype for me. Sting coffee notes of fresh FBS w thr bourbon notes of KBS, then all dipped in maple.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2011 23:13:42 | More by Crftbrfan
Photo of ComposerZero


4.9/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What can I say. Despite the hype, I was blown away by this beer. Wasn't sure what to expect, maybe a bigger, full-throttle, Mikkeller-esque version of the "regular" Breakfast Stout? Not the case. This beer is simply delicious. It's also easier to drink and sweeter than its sibling.

The color is dark chocolate with a sliver of cinnamon tinged head without retention. It's impenetrably dark and is definitely similar to the 'regular' in color. Perhaps blacker?

Blow you away nose. . . I'm talking a grin from ear to ear. Whiffs of whiskey barrel and maple syrup lead the way followed by high-toned coffee aromas. Tertiary aromas of smoke, bitter chocolate, sweet molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, black tea, and oak give this some serious complexity. It presents itself in an almost floral abundance of sweetness. Imagine combining grade B maple syrup with a serious Bourbon in the 'regular' Breakfast Stout and you can imagine what this smells like.

The aromas translate well on the palate where the bourbon, maple syrup, and coffee prevail. No booziness to speak of and without bitterness. It's sweet yet savory, smooth and clean. On the palate you can find those intriguing chocolate and spice notes from the aromas. The mouthfeel is sweet, long, plush, and deep with very slight carbonation and no rough edges. It finishes with a bit of tannin, I assume from the wood it was aged in.

Overall an amazing beer, one that's a candidate for perfection.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2011 16:25:10 | More by ComposerZero
Photo of scott9890


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

Had this beer at Al's of Hampden.

A-Black with a finger and a half of head that lasted the whole time and lacing was impeccable.

S-This was the ultimate beer for the true beer geek. All of the smells: (maple, bourbon, oak, vanilla, coffee, chocolate )all converge into the perfect aroma. At the same time nonetheless.

T-All of the flavors : maple, coffee, bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate all converge into the perfect brew. At the same time. This truly is a multi flavor beer in perfect balance converging all at the same time.

O-I would give an arm to have a case of this all to myself...could someone help me open and pour this. -signed the one armed beer geek.

This is the best beer ever.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2011 14:29:29 | More by scott9890
Photo of justyouraveragebeerguy


4.79/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had on tap at founders 15th anniversary party

A- Pitch black, no light can pass through this monster. A finger of a mocha/kacki head.

S- Wow. Big vanilla, molasses, dark chocolate, coffee, some sweetness coming through

Taste- Exactly how it smells. Right up front you get a sweetness immediately cut with a roasted coffee bitterness. Big vanilla, molasses and dark chocolate notes. The roast and coffee come through later on.

O- I really don't know what more you can ask from a BA stout. This beer is absolutely amazing. By far the best beer I have ever had.

Serving type: on-tap

02-26-2013 04:17:03 | More by justyouraveragebeerguy
Photo of FievelGoesWest


4.4/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black, the way you think of coffee being black, with hints of fading brown.

S: The booziness sticks out a lot here. Stack maple, various coffee smells, and bourbon hints.

T: The maple here was a little much for me. Not to say it was bad, just didn't feel as necessary.

M: Syrupy and consuming.

O: Great beer. I'm going to have to try it with KBS side-by-side sometime to really hammer down the differences for me. Try this if you get the opportunity!

Serving type: on-tap

05-05-2011 02:28:07 | More by FievelGoesWest
Photo of mains


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

I had this out of the bottle.
I poured this into a glass mug.
The appearance was black as fuck. It looked like a great stout. It poured a sexy brownish maple sexy as fuck head.
The smell was great. Maple syrup, coffee, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, It was fucking great.
The taste was the same as the smell basically. It was sweet, and delicious. YUM!!!
Mouthfeel: It was so good. Such a great mouthfeel. YUM!
Overall: A+ beer. Yes. For sure. YUM!!!

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2011 03:36:51 | More by mains
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 basickness


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

ok, this is just a heads up over a true review. when i had it on tap in january '12 it was GREAT. syrup, burbon, beer, and pure awesomeness. no joke. enough that i bought 3 bombers at $30 a pop.

now to today... in the past month i have opened 2 bottles, one from my stash, one from a friends... the maple has pretty much, i'd say 99% fell off and is damn near gone... and that is what but the C in Cbs... not saying that this thing went bad or anything of the sort, but be advised, the syrup is damn near gone... so if you have a bottle, open the damn thing, or sit on it for eternity.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2013 17:10:10 | More by basickness
Photo of bjorumj


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

This beer is extremely complex but not overwhelming. The sweet and full taste of maple and bourbon are present. The texture is thick and smooth with light carbonation. The best beer I have every tasted. It pours very dark brown. The nose body and finish are excellent. I would drive across the country to get this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2011 03:11:05 | More by bjorumj
Photo of aherstein


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

Poured into snifter.

Jet black with a thin, dark brown head.

Maple syrup, coffee, whisky and a hint of reisling.

This a a bold one! Maple syrup up front, chocolate, with a light whisky finish. Bold flavors mask the high alcohol content.

Thick and syrupy. Lightly carbonated.

A phenomenal beer. One of my very favorates. Do not miss this one!

Serving type: on-tap

10-12-2011 02:10:37 | More by aherstein
Photo of BrohamidAli


4.18/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a 750 bottle

A: poured a thick dark coffee black into a founders snifter. A little finger of a mocha colored head to it.

S: Getting that coffee that reminds me so much of kbs. a little sweetness not so much maple though

T/M: right up front I get that coffee taste that I love. The flavors seem a little more mellow that kbs. I get some of that oaky qualities but i'm really stretching and I get none of the maple. It does have a lot smother finish and more mouthfeel than kbs and is more rounded.

O: I think I had this beer a little to late. It's a good beer but I wish I could of had it fresh off the tap when founders released it. I just don't see how it is the number 3 beer on here. It did not blow me away and It doesn't seem to hold up after time. This is one of those beers you need to have fresh or not at all.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2012 08:42:25 | More by BrohamidAli
Photo of sguzman

New Jersey

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

This has to be one of the best Imperial Stout by Founders. I am a big fan of Imperial Stout beers and Found has tip the scale on this one. I cannot wait to taste it ontap. Founders usually makes an appearance in late Spring in either at Bind Tiger or RattleAndHum on 33rd East street.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2013 19:45:27 | More by sguzman
Photo of BeerTour1


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

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

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

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

This beer is well worth the trip to Grand Rapids.

Serving type: on-tap

07-29-2010 21:06:08 | More by BeerTour1
Photo of gcasher


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

A - dark; black; tan head about 1/4 inch
S - sweet like maple sugar
T- Oh my G_d; sweet nectar of the gods; sweet bourbon up front with the follow of the maple in the afterglow
F - smoove; goes down easy; alcohol not agressive, but bites you in the arse.

I was expecting the KBS but got the CBS instead; it was very nice not to get the coffee smell and taste; I prefer just having the bourbon, maple, and stout;

What an experience!

On tap.

Serving type: on-tap

08-12-2010 02:22:10 | More by gcasher
Photo of TarasBeerezowsky


4.2/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Local Option. (Served in a small highball glass due to snifter shortage; completely tapped out before mine even warmed to a good temp.)

A - much like regular BS and KBS; black as an Upper Peninsula forest in the middle of the night; thin hazelnut-colored head, dissipates quickly.

S - a lot sweeter than BS/KBS, with maple nudging out coffee or chocolate notes.

T - roasty and sweet, but with much less body than I expected. Maple doesn't hang around -- in fact, hardly makes an appearance on the palate.

M - falls much shorter than a Speedway or Bourbon County Brand Stout. kept trying to let it redeem itself, but i'm afraid the best the CBS has to offer is on the nose.

wouldn't necessarily drink as a substitute for breakfast stout or kentucky -- unless i really was out of syrup for my pancakes.

Serving type: on-tap

03-17-2011 22:00:44 | More by TarasBeerezowsky
Photo of boz4uali


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

5.5 oz at a Founders event @ Tavern on Liberty

A: black, no head (although by the time they brought the glass over to me it may have gone down)

S: black mission figs dipped in maple syrup with a splash of bourbon, all blended with KBS...incredible and not overwhelmingly sweet or bourbon-y . the smell of alcohol is hardly present. sweet but not sickeningly sweet--like a dried black mission fig.

T: delicious stout qualities with fig, vanilla, maple and bourbon

M: thick syrupy goodness

O: had CBS for the first time served with KBS, porter, centennial, double trouble, nemesis, dirty bastard, imperial stout--the CBS was my favorite. although i only had a 5.5 oz serving, i nursed it for as long as possible--the taste and smell were absolutely perfect. smell reminds me of sam adams utopias but better.

Serving type: on tap

Serving type: on-tap

04-01-2011 17:46:01 | More by boz4uali
Photo of Emmaus217


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

Pours midnight black with a thin mocha head that swiftly fades to gorgeous looking lacing.

Smells like sweet maple bourbon with a hint of coffee and dark chocolate.

The taste is out of this world. Completely lives up to the hype. Sweet maple goodness followed by delicious dark chocolate. A delicious bourbony/booze after taste quickly follows it up.

The mouthfeel is thick and carbonated just right.

This beer is everything I had hoped it would be. I'm so glad I came to the Black Party.

Serving type: on-tap

04-16-2011 19:19:40 | More by Emmaus217
Photo of darienm


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

Enjoyed in a snifter on tap at the 2011 bottle release event on October 1, 2011 at Founders. Reviewer allowed the beer to reach near-room temperature. Pours a deep black with virtually no head save for a few bubbles of creamy brown. A slight stickiness allowed CBS to gently coat the sides of the glass with a mild yellowish film. The aroma wafts up easily and little effort is required to discern the moderate bourbon notes. Inhaling a bit more brings forth a hint of something sweeter lingering in wait; possibly the maple syrup or wood. Initial taste jumps forward with dark roasty malts covered in a bourbon shell with a mildly sweet maple syrup finish. The aroma while drinking brings the coffee into subtle play. Subsequent tastes confirm that the alcohol is noticeable, but not overtly present. There are thicker stouts, but the extra weight here would feel out of place. Instead an exceptional balance of the flavors, alcohol warmth, and trailing finish ensure that this beer can be sipped slowly for a long while.

Serving type: on-tap

10-03-2011 00:38:51 | More by darienm
Photo of NapTownHopHead


4.7/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Let this one warm up.

A: Dark as night.

S: Coffee interwoven with bourbon; subdued whiff of sweetness.

T: Perfectly balanced combination of coffee, bourbon, maple and oak. Coffee arouses the senses, bourbon massages the brain and the maple provides a dessert finish. Perfectly balanced beer.

M: Not too syrupy. Low carbonation.

O: Had CBS at previous KBS releases. Was worried prior experience would not live up to this year's vintage. 100% wrong. Amazing beer, perfectly balanced, and not too over the top. One of the best beers I've ever had.

Serving type: on-tap

Serving type: on-tap

10-05-2011 02:53:26 | More by NapTownHopHead
Photo of Monkwhobrewsbeer


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

I was at Founders for the CBS release on 10-1-11, was able to buy two bottles that day. I still have not opened them as of this date, but I drank two glasses on-tap that day and it was fantastic! Even though stouts are not my favorite style of beer, it was one of the best beers I have ever had. Everything about it was great. The total blend of coffee, maple, and bourbon melted in your mouth like candy.

Serving type: on-tap

10-08-2011 13:00:49 | More by Monkwhobrewsbeer
Photo of jtmcgraw


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

a- Pitch black with minimal head that left quite a bit of lacing after giving it a swirl.

s- Bourbon and dark chocolate up front. The syrup seems to grow more prominent as it warms, overall very sweet. The bourbon and maple smell wonderful together.

t- Bourbon, chocolate, and coffee. As with the smell, the syrup comes out more as it sits. The alcohol is completely hidden. An incredible and dangerous stout

m- Very thick and sticky with low carbonation. I feel that this is where the maple syrup comes into play. It's such a strange thing and it fits so well.

o- Incredibly balanced and delicious, as well as innovative and different. It's unfortunate that this beer isn't more available, I suppose it just adds to the allure. My only complaint is that I can't get another bottle without thoroughly punishing my checking account.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 23:45:30 | More by jtmcgraw
Photo of pimphm5


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

I drank this out of a standard English pub glass. It poured blacker than dirty fucking oil. I LOVED THE APPEARANCE. OH SHIT!!! The smell was of coffee, some chocolate, some vanilla, some bourbon, some sugar maple syrup qualities. AMAZING!!! Taste was like taking the breakfast stout, and putting it on steroids, and then aging it in maple syrup-bourbon barrels. It was titty. The mouthfeel was fucking smooth. I could drink 124 of them, though I would probably die, but it would be well worth it because it is better than anything. I love it more than anything, even more than my girlfriend, and I broke off our marriage because of this fucking beer!!! I just love it, and Founder's, I love you as well. Founder's if you are listening to this. Please reward me with more CBS for free. Much appreciated. Overall. If you didn't drink this, you are fucking stupid, and don't fucking talk to me you fat fucking piece of shit. I would pay $50.00 for a bottle of this. I love you Founder's. The End.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2011 03:48:12 | More by pimphm5
Photo of gordonbeersch


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

I am only a year in to my craft beer experience so I apologize for what is to be a rudimentary review. I was lucky to enjoy a bottle of this and it exceeded my expectations. A remarkable creation by Founders.

A: An extremely dark brown, almost black like appearance with a dark brown head. A viscous appearance.

S: The maple, choclate, and bourbon seemed most prevalent, with slight hints of the coffee. One of the most appealing smelling beers conceived.

T: Hard to describe. So smooth and balanced. The choclate and maple is definitly there producing a very sweet flavor. The bourbon seemed hardly noticeable to me due to it being so smooth and balanced and it being a very sweet beer.

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy as one would expect. It seemed to be the perfect thickness and viscosity to support the flavors.

Overall: It is an amazing beer and definitly one of the best beers I have ever had. Next goal is to head up to founders to get it on tap.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2011 19:50:43 | More by gordonbeersch
Photo of NickyDee21


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

Originally had on tap in the spring of 2012, recently enjoyed a bottle with a good friend. This is my first full review, so please excuse the inexperience.

A- pours a pitch black with about a finger and a 1/2 light brown head.

S-bourbon, roasted malts

T- Immediately starts with roasted malt/chocolate-like taste. Ever slightly starts to move to the bitter dark chocolate of an imperial stout, before BAM, the maple syrup moves in for the kill. Provides an amazing, balanced sweetness that is not overpowering, but completely masks the beer's 10.6%. Finishes with some vanilla and the tiniest bit of heat from the bourbon barrels

M- chewy, creamy, thick, and everything a stout should be

O-hands down, the best beer I have ever had. This is now my third time trying it, and every time I do so, I am more certain in my belief. It's the most perfectly balanced beer I've enjoyed, and achieves everything it sets out to achieve. I find it hard to believe i'll ever find such an ambitious beer so well made ever again.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2012 15:14:35 | More by NickyDee21
Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 2,266 ratings.