Founders Breakfast Stout | Founders Brewing Company

3,801 Reviews
Founders Breakfast StoutFounders Breakfast Stout

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.30%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Availability: Sep - Dec

Brewed with flaked oats, bitter and sweetened imported chocolates, Sumatra and Kona coffee.

60 IBU

Added by marburg on 07-26-2003

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Reviews: 3,801 | Ratings: 16,443
Photo of coachdonovan
3/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a jet black (obviously) but absolutely no head. I made sure to let this one warm up, so not sure what's up with that.

Aroma is 100% roasty. Not like a smoky schwarzbier, but more like the aftermath of a fire. Taste is equally roasted coffee with unsweetened chocolate. The alcohol doesn't cause a problem with drinkability, but the burnt and bitter flavor does. Maybe I'm at a disadvantage because I don't like coffee, but this one just doesn't do it for me. I really want to like it more, but I can't do it - too unbalanced.

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Photo of BigKahuna97
3/5  rDev -32.9%

Tastes like Mexican Coffee.
Growlers & Gill had it in on tap. Good pour, terrible head. Foam would not dissipate. Great color. Tasted like kahlua and beer. Unpleasant taste. Switched to Founders Porter.

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Photo of philipquarles
3.01/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to rmasen for this one; I had been looking forward to it ever since I'd tried Péché Mortel.

Pours a completely opaque black with a small ochre head that recedes to leave some nice lacing. Smells of thoroughly roasted malt; so roasted in fact that there's no real conventional malt taste. It's essentially all bitter coffee with faint chocolate notes. Burnt, bitter flavors dominate the taste with gobs of coffee and some dark cacao. Earthy character with an astringent finish. As hard as it is for an RIS to be unbalanced, this one is; a dry stout beefed up with spent Folger's grinds. It does have a thick feel, but it's too oily to be a real positive. Definitely a sipper. Maybe my expectations were too high, but this was disappointing.

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Photo of QuentinCall
3.02/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance is no more remarkable than any other Imperial Stout I've experienced: jet mahogany with an exuberant, oatmeal colored head that quickly fades to a thin blanket of lace. There is certainly coffee in the nose and while it is the defining aspect, alongside it there is a pronounced alcohol note and an aroma somewhat reminiscent of old books: must and wood and wet rot. Taste follows logically - upfront booze and coffee ballasted by roasted and chocolate malts. Unfortunately, it's monochromatic and hampered by a too-prominent alcohol profile. It finishes with an alternative and, ultimately, unwelcome facet of the coffee - bright and acidic and maybe even possessive of an espresso-like grit. With regards to the style, the feel seems thin, lacking the heft to ably support it.
Overall, it's a nice, but particularly unexciting, beer. Unfortunately acidic and boozy, lacking the depth of character I've come to believe an Imperial Stout can embody. Nonetheless, you should try it. I honestly feel like you should. All these people can't be wrong can they? My perfectly average 3 rating does'nt nullify the fact that this is a really important beer, a benchmark even, to a significant population. Its just that it strikes me as particularly uneventful.

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Photo of MowryJC
3.05/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. 2009 vintage bottle into a snifter.

A - Dark, slightly viscous pitch color with no chance of light coming through. Weak, one finger head that leaves virtually no lacing down the side of the glass.

S - COFFEE. I don't get much else, maybe a hint of oats and a little chocolate, but the coffee is too far out of balance, probably because it gets a big old boost by the roasted malts.

T - Again, Coffee immediately followed by a little astringency from the malts, back into coffee. And the coffee seems to have a lot more acidity to it than espresso even. Almost no semblance of chocolate at all. I really can't believe how out of balance this seems.

M - Slightly oily, but not cloying at all, which is quite nice. The chewiness is enjoyable as well especially in the throat. I didn't feel ruined for the night from this beer, which I worry about with such strong flavors in this style.

D - Surprisingly drinkable if it were more balanced in flavor. I have to give this another shot given its reputation, but I was pretty disappointed in the lack of balance for this first round.

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Photo of rosmhuire
3.06/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark brown coloring with tan-colored head.

S: All coffee on the nose

T: Coffee is definitely the primary flavor here. Also, this is a bit too sweet for my liking.

M: Average

D: I honestly was shocked that I did not care too much for this beer. Everyone on this site has such a hard-on for FBS, I was expecting to love it as well. I love oatmeal and imperial stouts, but this just did not measure up for me.

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Photo of quasimoto
3.06/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Deep black, opaque. Faint ruby highlights are gleaming through. There is a nice big 2inch head on this thing and as I let it sit, it laces nicely.

S - Straight off the bat , it's old coffee grounds. Its not iced coffee, or a frappachino, but old coffee grains. There is a light mixture of some chocolate, in the middle but then turns to deep roasted grains.

T - The aromas transfer over to the taste and make it almost a balanced beer, but not quite. The deep coffee grain is turning to mud, and in turn taking the grains with it. The chocolate is no where to be found in true form but only a perceived notion of its previous existence is left behind. Out of all the reviews I have read, I cant believe no one has picked up the high rubbing alcohol flavor in the back of this beer. Either this needs to age, or this thing is a mess.

M - One of the good things about this beer is the mouth feel. It starts off smooth with the carbonation/bitterness, and then smooths out to a nice creamy mouth feel. The alcohol warms the as it sits, and then warms the throat.

D - I hope this thing needs to age. I really do. Maybe then it will be a true 93/Outstanding beer. But for a rather fresh beer. It's not even close.

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Photo of LOCAL
3.11/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip glass

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown/black with no light passing through. Forms a faint coco head that disappears almost immediately.

Aroma: Faint oat, coffee, and bitter chocolate notes... not too much to be honest.

Taste: Similar to the nose with oats and roasted malt up front. The "double chocolate" and coffee seemed like an after thought in the taste profile.... strange considering the name.

Mouthfeel: On the heavier side. Sticks to the tongue.

Overall: Its OK. The alcohol is very well hidden given the ABV. I was really expecting a lot more from this brew. Not much in the way of chocolate or coffee in this one, at least not with the name tag it comes with.

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Photo of Khazadum
3.14/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Ahh, what a couple months. From the start of my craft brew career to my current status this beer has haunted me. I started with it and now I hit it up again after educating myself for quite some time. Poured into my brandy snifter once more, a fresh batch versus a few months old.

Pitch black void body with dual toned froth. Not much carbonation and head as I would have liked, but a bit did develop. Most of the cream and mocha bubbles have floated away, but a nice noodle thin bracelet hugs the edge of my glass. Decent lacing can be noted with a few patches of bubbles holding on to dear life around the edges. With a bit more carbonation this would be good to look at.

Intensely smoky. I feel like a cigarette was blown into my face, unfortunately. It isn't campfire or burnt grain. It is nicotinic in nature for my nostrils. Overwhelming to the point that I almost missed the chocolate. The coffee is melded into the initial aromas. It takes quite a bit of effort to weasel out what is the cigarette and what is the coffee.

Flavor Profile
Just like the nose, the flavor opens up intensely smoky. It isn't as carcinogenic in taste, but still reminds me of a cigarette. The coffee is extremely faint. It comes through in the common bitterness of black coffee, but the other flavors I normally find in coffee stouts are missing.

I would say it is more a chocolate and smoke beer than anything else. The finish is quite lovely, though, reminiscent of quality dark chocolate melted in my mouth five minutes ago.

Oral Sensations
This is probably where this beer shines the most. It floats into my mouth like a tongue snuggy. Its full bodied presence leaves interesting resides on my palate, lips, and teeth. They are the evolved molecules of the liquid. Positively enjoyable and with little drawbacks.

When sipping this beer, I find it to be one of the smoothest stouts I have had to date. It has minimal tingling due to carbonation, and flows with the greatest of ease around my mouth and esophagus.

An interesting beer. It is almost exactly like I remembered from months ago. The flavors are quite underwhelming, although unique. The aromas are nauseating in a health perspective sense and yet... I still find myself feeling like I may drink another in the future.

A side note really quick, the 8.3% alcohol seems to be a lie. I feel this alcohol in both mind and body faster than beers labeled at a higher alcohol than this. It is definitely a strong buzz forming from a single bottle of this brew.

It is not a beer I would want anytime soon again, but I feel that is a lie. Maybe it really does have nicotine in this bad boy. My brain tells me I shouldn't want another, but my body craves it. I know it is not good, but I find I can't say no to another sip.

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Photo of Moon2Goddess
3.16/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Color:Identical to a dark roast coffee, deep mahogany, completely opaque.

Head:The second pour at a warmer temperature elicited a better head an inch or more high. Texture is incredibly creamy, like half-n-half.

Aroma: Pleasant, but weak. Mostly vanilla, coffee and chocolate.

Texture: Sexy. A truly viscous consistency, ultra smooth nicely coating your mouth, the silky layer lingers on the roof of your mouth long after you have finished. If it were not so bitter, it would seem luxurious. If only the bitterness did not force me to swallow, I would hold it in my mouth forever!

Flavor & Balance: Flavor is divergent; coffee to whiskey to licorice to beer to coffee again and finally oatmeal a full minute after swallow. As it warms, however, it is like drinking a cold, double batch of over-roasted, bitter coffee. If I paid for a cup of coffee, I would want it to taste better than this. Completely lacks any butter-nut or rich, warm qualities, it is bitter through and through. The chocolate additives separate from the beer and seem to settle to the bottom, like an unstirred espresso drink. Tasted best when it was freshly cold and exhibited pronounced licorice accents.

Sustained Taste: Loses varied flavors over time and becomes simply coffee and very dark chocolate--chocolate flavor does not even vary. Would probably be best with a cookie or biscotti to offset the bitterness. Not a good stand alone beer. Wish it had a more pronounced beer flavor, or a higher alcohol content to make it worth drinking the whole bottle. I don't even feel a buzz and I am looking for a piece of gum.

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Photo of TastyAdventure
3.19/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was ready for this one. As famous as it is, I tried to manage my expectations and not hold the bar too high. I believe I did so, but was still very disappointed.

Although it's not my favorite style, I have had a number of stouts, including Old Rasputin, which is in my 10 favorite beers.

Poured this from a bottle into a pint glass.

Here we go, the controversial opinion begins:

A - brown one-and-half finger head, solid black. Looks like a stout.

S - stale coffee. maybe a coffee flavored pastry.

T - Day-old strong coffee, but not quite as bitter as coffee. A bit one-noted on the taste to be honest. I searched and searched for other flavors. Absolutely no chocolate flavor like the bottle says, a mild breadiness that might be reminiscent of a bland oatmeal and coffee breakfast. You wouldn't know there's any alcohol in here.

M - Low carbonation, too low. Feels like coffee. Leaves a stickyness on the lips and back of throat like oatmeal does.

Overall - Disappointment. This beer is very one-noted. Coffee, that's mainly all I taste.

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Photo of Netdigger2
3.19/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is one of my favorite stouts, usually readily available too.

Pours black with low to medium dark tan head.

Smell is coffee, chocolate, roated malt, almonds, and a dash of cream. Yum.

Taste mimics the smell with coffee upfront, followed by chocolate, glazed pancakes, and a bit of roasted malt.

The mouthfeel is full bodied, but it is always on the lower side of carbonation, like pouring from a cask.

Awesome beer!

Edited 10/13/13:

2013 Batch

Taste this year is totally unbalanced bitter coffee and ashtray. The creamyness and smoothness from the oatmeal is completely hidden. Seems like this year's batch might have been rushed and not fully conditioned.

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Photo of nick76
3.2/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The aroma is fantastic and could even set the standard for the style. It has coffee, chocolate, cream, burnt malt, hops, and molasses. The appearance is black with a small but nice tan head. The flavor is way to burnt and bitter with a acidic burnt coffee after taste. The palate is actually a little thin for the style. Overall its a beer worth having but in the end its not fantastic.

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Photo of tr4nc3d
3.22/5  rDev -28%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a jet black color with a tan mocha colored head that resides rather quickly. Lacing coats the sides of my glass beautifully.

Fresh brewed coffee, vanilla, oatmeal, roasted malts, toffee, smoked wood chips, black licorice. Lots of great smells coming from this brew, I can not wait to try it.

Smells a lot better then it taste. Very upfront pretty bold bitter dark coffee taste, charred malts, and should I dare say quite watery. A very teeny tiny sweet taste does try to show up but definitely is overpowered with the coffee bitterness.

Medium with light carbonation. A little sticky or chewy should I saw. Left with that coffee aftertaste.

I picked up a 4 pack and will compare notes with the others. Maybe I'll age one. Anyways this did not do it for me really that much.

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Photo of joeseppy
3.23/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Pour is dark and head is rich.

Smells of mocha, coffee and a roastiness.

There is a large contrast in drinking this cold to letting it come up to temperature. Colder, the flavors blend well of chocolate, malts, hint of coffee and a fine sweetness. The warmer is gets, the black coffee dominates and becomes rather distracting as the cocoa fades.

Very thin feel on the tongue. Appearance would suggest otherwise.

I've had this in the bottle and I am disappointed. So I see this on-tap and figured it would be better---not. Extreme hype and a waste of money. Earlier years may have been great, I don't know. If I wanted this coffee experience (and I love coffee presence in a stout) I'd go to the fine people at MacDonalds.

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Photo of hawks10
3.23/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle - Bottle date illegible, but it is from the most recent release, pretty fresh - Poured into a snifter...

This Breakfast Stout, which will now be consumed as a "good night" stout, pours very dark, pretty much black with a finger of dark tan head that slowly recedes leaving just traces behind...

I'm trying to dig deeper than just saying "the beer smells like coffee" but I am really at a loss for what else to say...this beer just smells like coffee. Not bad but nothing outstanding...

First sip, surprise, coffee! Maybe my palette is not as refined as I had thought, but I can't find any descriptors for taste or aroma, hell even feel and look, than plain old coffee. I am underwhelmed...

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Photo of ccrida
3.28/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into my Meantime snifter, Founders Breakfast Stout is an oily pitch black with a dark, bronze tinged tan head that leaves scattered, foamy lace. Served around 55-60F.

Smell is bitter bakers chocolate, over roasted coffee and dark crystal malts, light alcohol vapors, sweetening as it warms.

Taste is on the boozy side, more bitter chocolate, some acrid coffee grounds lingering on the finish. As it warmed, the sweetness of the dark crystals starts to come out more, but they have tanginess that I never care for.

Mouthfeel is fantastically smooth, a bit on the drier side, medium-heavy bodied.

Drinkability is ok, this isn't really my favorite style, and this one is to acrid and hot for my tastes. Nice mouthfeel though.

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Photo of k3n
3.31/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle courtesy of Tangfoot, no freshness info.

A: Holy motor oil! Super dark and viscous. Looks like a glass of super dark brown ink. No bubbles, no head, even with a generous pour.

S: Roasted coffee beans. And more coffee beans. And-- you get it.

T: Lots of black coffee (see above). Melds right into hops. I'm looking for something in the middle (malt? chocolate?), and I can't find it. I know there's alcohol in here somewhere but I'll be damned if I can taste it.

M: Slippery smooth. Goes down easy, hops linger. The slight bit of carbonation helps.

D: Well, I certainly don't think I can drink this for breakfast... I think if I enjoyed black coffee I would enjoy this more. Alas...a well-made beer, for sure, just not up my alley.

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Photo of Whosonfirst
3.31/5  rDev -26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

What happened to my favorite beer! Just bought the newest release of Founders Breakfast stout from my local total wine. Bottling date on the case was 8/12/2016. It's not breakfast stout. I don't know what they did to this but somebody got way too heavy handed with the Expresso in this batch. I had just finished up a Founders Sumatra coffee stout and was excited to crack open the new breakfast out. This batch tastes nothing like the breakfast stout I know and love! It taste more like an espresso roast stout heavy on the espresso. The Sumatra coffee has a very nice balance flavor. This batch of breakfast stout has an overwhelming coffee flavor that blocks out most of the rest of the taste of the beer and leaves a strong espresso aftertaste. I bought an entire case at total wine and it's all going back. Hopefully somebody at the brewery is paying attention to their knitting and won't repeat this mistake in subsequent batches.

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Photo of gps2388
3.34/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Perfectly opaque, not a real high head even with a down the middle pour but I don't put much into that, nice beige color

Smell- Even as this beer warms up I can't get past the spent coffee grounds smell, and not fresh coffee grounds, more like the next morning when you go to make another pot and the grounds from yesterday are still there. I can barely detect some oat/chocolate behind it but the coffee grounds are just too much. As it warms I think there's some toffee coming out too

Taste- As this beer warms up I am warming up to it, even though I started around 50 degrees it still needed to get warmer to get anything but the coffee grounds out of it. Now the oats, some cocoa and just a small bit of the lactose are coming out. The lactose sweetness is interestingly laid over the coffee bitterness for some very nice complex flavors but again, you have to really search to get past the initial old grounds taste which hurts this beer. This beer does have amazingly complex flavors but it really needs to be about room temp (64 degrees in here in the winter) to get them to come out.

Mouthfeel- Nice long, lingering finish, the coffee tannins are hanging with me almost like a good dry red wine would leave an astringent feel on your cheeks and tongue

Drinkability- High alcohol so take your time, you should want to with all of the different things to think about. Again, if you don't like tannin (like old coffee or tea) you may not like the astringent quality of this beer but it's something that I typically enjoy though don't necessarily look for it in a beer

I had really high hopes for this beer as it was rated so high by BA but I don't know that it is worth the high price tag. I appreciate all the fine ingredients but the fatal flaw is the coffee tones even though I am an avid coffee guy... I think a slower darker more oily roast of the coffee beans would help and perhaps lose the Sumatra which I have never liked much.

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Photo of heliosphann
3.35/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

'09 release. 12oz stubby bottle (now with pry off caps!). Served in my Founders Black Party Pint glass. Seemed fitting...

A: Pours a Blacker than Black. Virtually no head. Some minimal lacing which leaves a clear film.

S: Strong roasted coffee. Lying underneath is some chocolate coco crispies. Not overly complex. If you like pungent coffee, this ones for you.

T: Just like it smells, HEAVY roasted coffee mixed with some smooth, dark chocolate. Rounding things out are some earthy hops, and roasted malts. The finish is strongly dominated by bitter coffee and a little bit of alcohol.

M: Medium bodied. Feels both heavy and light at points. Somewhat creamy and smooth, probably due to the Oatmeal. Despite the lack of head, carbonation is very solid and works with the style.

D: At 8.3%, you could probably knock back a few of these if you so desired. However, one 12oz is more than enough for me. The bitterness from the coffee is quite powerful, as that's all I can taste in my mouth now. Ugh...

I've always found Founders Breakfast Stout to be ho-hum, and never understood all the love for this brew. I've had much better coffee stouts that I feel deliver a much more satisfying and balanced experience. But then again what do I know? I seem to be in the minority of the minority on this one...

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Photo of rawthar
3.35/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I've been really looking forward to trying this, mainly based on the name alone.

A- Red tinged black with a very tiny head of coffee with cream that fizzles out early - presumably from the alcohol content. Like the color a lot, but I have to ding this beer for its unimpressive head. An enthusiastic swirl does however bring out a pretty milk chocolate head for a brief moment.

S- Iced coffee, sweet and bitter, maybe a very subtle hint of hops. Seems like the coffee could have been roasted a little toastier.

T- Iced coffee again, with the same raw bean characteristic as in the nose. The booze comes through to give you a little smack at the end. Really wish there was a bit more going on in this beer, but the coffee pretty much pushes any other complexities out of the way.

M- Slick and oily, creamy and buttery.

D- The intense coffee preoccupation makes this one tough for me, as I'm not a coffee drinker.

I know I'm an outlier in my opinion of this beer, but I really felt a bit let down. I guess I though the 'breakfast' angle was derived more from oatmeal content than coffee. I really wish there was more going on in this beer. Maybe I'll have to review again with a warm one.

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Photo of psychotia
3.35/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled 08/14/09

A: Great pour with a large 3 finger head that slowly settled to lace the glass after a few minutes. Oh it is black.

S: Nice blend of roasted coffee and chocolate. Probably my favorite part of this beer.

T: This is where I wasn't too happy. At this point, I'm not surprised that the coffee is almost completely gone (being over a year old), but I was quite overwhelmed with the sweetness from the chocolate/sugar. I wonder if they used any lactose (pure or in the chocolate)... regardless, it was too sweet for me and I would have preferred more balance.

M: Good. I like a slightly thicker mouthfeel, but I have no big qualms with this medium-bodied stout.

D: Well, I was ready to be done with it halfway through, but I did finish the bottle. Again, it was just too sweet. Alcohol was very well hidden though. Would never guess it was >8%.

While let down by all the hype, I realize this bottle is a year old. I'm excited to try a fresh bottle next week to see how it compares!

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Photo of capra12
3.35/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviwed with the help of speedwayjim served out of a pint glass.

Appearance: 1/2 finger dark tan head dark and nearly opaque in color.

Smell: There are dark roast malts, coffee beans and burnt dark chocolate.

Taste: The opening of this brew nothing but ordinary. The taste of slightly charred chocolate and heavily roasted coffee beans are present throughout this brew, The sweet ness of the chocolate comes through towards the end as this brew warms up.

Mouthfeel: this brew is medium bodied but is in no way smooth. The bitterness from the roasted coffee really lingers long after my sip.

Drinkability: this brew is very complex yet my palate is unable appreciate the complexity of this concoction.For me this brew is one which I would not have again.

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Photo of digita7693
3.38/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is a very good beer, but the chocolate is a bit too much for me, so it loses points there... especially when I compare it to the IS from Founders.
pours a dark oily molases
small dark brown head.

strong smell of chocolate and coffee, perhaps some nuts

taste is pretty much the same, with the chocolate leading the taste, my one problem with it ( it is good, but a bit too much chocolate for me, i know it specifically says it on the bottle, but yeah...)

very drinkable, smooth

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Founders Breakfast Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.47 out of 5 based on 16,443 ratings.
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