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CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)
4,668 Ratings
CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.70%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by CRJMellor on 02-01-2009

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,668 |  Reviews: 1,082
Reviews by bobhits:
Photo of bobhits
3.56/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got lucky enough to have the shop by me save me a bottle. At 26 dollars per bottle, this was hardly an easy to justify purchase.

Pours one of the best bodies I've seen in a barrel aged stout. A very nice thick head, great great lacing. I went from a snifter for the first glass to a stone old guardian glass. The old guardian glass really worked better here fyi. Dark color, tan head. This is a great stout look, really better than expected. My last pour was on draft so it was a snifter poured to the rim (thank you for the pour beer trappe!)

The nose gives way to coffee with an unmistakable light maple sweetness. Beyond that we do get some chocolate notes, burned malts, vanilla, hints of oak. I'm not getting much overt "bourbon"notes here just the light oak.

The beer brings out coffee, vanilla, fake/candy maple, and ends with some oak notes that seems out there. Sadly my 3.5 rating from the draft where I felt this was overly sweet was perhaps overly favorable. The maple really doesn't help and I really want more bourbon notes. Yet despite the use of what would be 3rd fill bourbon barrels, their is almost too much oak.

Mouth feel here is outstanding. It's creamy, soft, and the abv is completely impossible to notice.

Overall this is a nice beer, the price is killing me a bit, and the hype is horrible. I really wish I could be more favorable on the flavor notes. There's a lot of great flavors here, i completely get why some are so high on this, but when I think of how good KBS and breakfast stout are this seems underwhelming. I'd score this one a good bit higher without the absurd price tag. Anyway if you can get a sample of this, I'd recommend giving it a try to see if you like it. That said, I wouldn't seek this one out after market or stand in line for it.

As this is a rereview based on a small pour at a bar back in 2010, I'll have to go somewhat on memory on that one. My thoughts on that version were that it was overly sweet and added almost a marshmallow like element that muted the coffee and bourbon notes and really pushed this one over the top in sweetness. I also don't recall a mouth feel like what I"m getting now, it was thicker more viscous (worth noting that pours on draft tend to be much cooler than I pour beers at home) without the rather nice carbonated body. Worth also noting I had this CBS over two sessions. I had a pour after work then corked it for late tonight. The lager format did well for letting me have a small pour and then going out and coming back to a night cap (otherwise one sitting this is a LOT of beer). Anyway my objections to the first batch were mostly based on the overt sweetness. This batch doesn't bother me as much with sweetness, but it just seems to be lacking a bit in terms of well integrated flavors and has flavors I'm not a fan of. Unlike KBS which I would not want to age more than 6 months to max a year, I could see this one with 2 years on it really shining. It would worry me about the beer losing too much flavor as it isn't hot at all and the carbonation will subside, but it has been my experience that maple flavors are best once they mellow into the base beer and oak.

Bottom line is this does to me at least feel like a different beer than what I remember. Given the hype and my inflated attention to the first time i had the beer, I would say my memory is as about as good as it gets on that one, which was many years ago. Still memories are even at their best not ideal. I end with I am coming to the same conclusion roughly on both which is a 3.5 score, better than average but a bit lacking given the hype and massive demand. If they could give me a bit thicker beer with this carbonation and mix in some more bourbon notes and get the maple to be more of a sweetness vs having some off notes, I'd be on board for the hype.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of KFBR392
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Jet black. Menacing brown head. Less then a half of finger of head on the pour. Surprising amount of active carbonation. Some random lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Heavenly. Lots of sweet maple syrup still alive in the aroma. Rounded bourbon with lots of toffee, chocolate, and deep malt. Every time I take it in a different aroma rises and showcases itself.

Taste: The front of this beer is so easy drinking and feels soft on the palate then explodes with massive flavors. The maple syrup, chocolate, and toffee really stand out. The bourbon character has mellowed greatly and is a great complimentary accessory. The finish is a slight bourbon tingle and dark roasted malt and chocolate.

Mouthfeel: This beer is heavy yet drinks so easily. Just an amazing drinking experience.

Overall: My first time with this gem. I hate the 5/5 review but this beer deserves it. I could be more lengthy and masturbatory with my review but this beer speaks for itself. Worth every dollar I spent.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.65/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at Oasis. Served in a pint glass. And a second one. Beer #1100!

A- Dark black body. Like black coffee, but noticeably viscous. One finger mocha head with nice retention. No lacing. Eventually the head dies down after maybe ten minutes into a thin collar.

S- Glorious chocolate aromas come out. Milk chocolate, rich roasty coffee and some whiskey and oak. There is a fair bit of maple in the nose as well, but it's not maple soaked pancakes if that makes sense. Some maple but not a ton, the star is coffee and chocolate with a nice light bourbon aroma.

F- Plenty of coffee; rich roasted coffee bean and even more milk chocolate, like Lindt's. The latter half of the beer brings a nice complex combination of maple and bourbon. More maple than bourbon really, some oak. Very nice sweet finish that is slick and coating, like actual maple syrup; there is more maple syrup in the taste than in the nose but again, it is not overpowering. It is complementary to the other flavours in this beer. Overall wonderful chocolate maple syrup flavours that play together very well.

M- Thick bodied, substantial and oily on the palate. It's like I went Supertroopers and pounded some maple syrup. It coats the tongue in nice chocolate-forward maple syrup sweetness that is cut by bitter roasted coffee. Wow.

O- This lived up to the hype for me. Delicious stout that isn't actually maple heavy, but it feels maple heavy on the finish with a ton of chocolate and coffee. Altogether, this is a very different beer than Good Morning or Mornin' Delight but I honestly think these are very different beers (coffee, chocolate and aged in maple bourbon barrels vs coffee and added maple syrup) and I haven't had anything quite like this before. Worthwhile and would definitely go out of my way to drink this again.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours pitch black, appearing opaque black in the glass with a fine, one finger, light brown head with great retention and thick lacing. Aroma of semi-sweet dark toasted malt, chocolate, latte coffee, bourbon, well balanced and inviting. Flavor follows, with mildly sweet dark toasted malt, chocolate, coffee, light maple and bourbon. Finishes with wonderfully balanced milky mocha and bourbon. Medium bodied with nice creaminess and excellent mouth feel. Well, this one has been on my want list for a long time, and I was almost prepared to be a little let down because of its hype and the long wait, but this really lives up to its reputation. It’s a little on the sweet side, which might be an issue for some stout fans, but tastes great to me and is not cloying as a syrup infused brew could be. As a matter of fact, the real story here is balance, a good thick malt body supports the coffee, maple, bourbon and chocolate flavors, but none dominates (maybe a little on the bourbon side, but I'll never quibble about that). This is definitely one of the best stouts I've ever had. My first taste was a 'wow' taste and that's always a good start. The only big problem with this one is the 750ml format; it's just too big unless you have a few people around to split this with. The beautiful balance is accompanied by well covered big ABV, making this dangerously inviting to keep sipping. But when life hands you too much of a good thing, it's best to drink up. This is definitely world class. Glad to have finally scored a bottle. Although our local market is full of excellent local IPAs and stouts, Founders has stood out as a welcome visitor. Since coffee stouts are bit of a dilemma for me because I drink in the evening (no "breakfast" stout for me) and respond well to caffeine, I expected this to be a one-and-done. Nope, I'll chase this next time it comes to town. I can see why this might be a bit on the sweet side for some palates, but for me, the overall balance of flavors with the great silky mouthfeel are hard to beat. Mmmm.

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Photo of ScaryEd
4.94/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

The pour is pitch black, like straight motor oil, with a healthy finger of thick mocha head. The head literally does not go away, instead electing to settle into a blanket that envelops the top of the beer.

The aroma brings a hefty wave of maple syrup, roasted coffee, vanilla, oak, and sweet milk chocolate. Pretty much exactly as advertised.

The flavor is just stupid. Holy mother of all that is good in this world. Loads of milk chocolate notes flirt with the palate before a huge wave of coffee comes and seals the deal. But the night's not over. Coffee brought his friend maple syrup along and they're planning a menage a trois with my taste buds. My mouth just got laid.

The feel is full-bodied with soft carbonation. Very creamy and smooth, yet a touch syrupy and sticky. But that's what happens when your mouth has a threesome.

Overall, this is absolutely one of the best beers I've ever had. Call me a slave to hype but I fell in love after the very first sip of this nectar of the Gods. It brings everything to the table yet stays remarkably balanced and restrained. The maple syrup dances beautifully with the sweet chocolate, while the coffee keeps the sweetness in check like a strict chaperone at a High School dance. I'm so happy I got to try this.

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Photo of Blackboardbrewing
4.91/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The infamous CBS makes it's return. Having had bottles of this in 2011 and not buying to the hype, I had to see what the 2014/15 batch was all about. Multiple pours at the Happy Gnome.

A: Pours a very dark brownish-black, a thin, creamy, off white laced head maybe a mm tall hovers around the edges of the glass. Not 100% opaque/5W-30 consistency like I like them.

S: When first served it's loads of cold pressed coffee. About as fresh as it gets for coffee aroma. As it warms, what a beautiful balanced beer, my goodness. . Awesome smelling stuff. Maple, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, damn.

T: After it finally warmed up, I see what the hype is about. It's apples to oranges with KBBS, but man, this is one of the best BA maple/coffee stouts around. Rich velvety chocolates coats the mouth, a surge of maple caresses the tongue, finishes balanced and with just enough vanilla barrel notes (slightly tannic/oaky) to let you know it was BA.

F: Although I don't LOVE the mouthfeel, it's quaffable enough to enjoy a second and a third pour without feeling full to the point where you want to just take a nap. If this had the mouthfeel of FIS, would just about be perfect.

O: I almost skipped this tapping knowing it was going to be a mess. However, the folks at the Gnome handled this perfectly. And, this is about as close to perfect gets, with well you know not being such. I was surprised by how balanced it was. I could drink this daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Please bottle again.

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Photo of JoeLev
4.89/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had this beer both out of a bottle and on tap:

A: Pours black as expected with a surprising amount of head formation. Beautiful dark and thick head that stays put.
S: Overall very pleasant aroma, with very even amounts of chocolate, coffee, and bourbon barrel. The maple comes through but seems to only dance around in the aroma rather than dominate it.
T: Similar to the aroma, the flavor profile is very well rounded and incredibly smooth. There is very little heat given that it is 11.7% ABV but there are mellow bourbon notes pleasantly on the back end. There is a presence of oak and vanilla but it is not very forward in flavor. This is not a bad thing as this is a perfect fit in this beer.
M: Silky smooth and spot on.
O: Overall this is a world class stout. My impression is that it does everything just about perfectly but was never meant to be a "huge" stout. It's a perfect breakfast stout. It is unfortunate that it had been so hyped up over the years because it likely won't get the credit it deserves. I was able to have '16 and '17 KBS next to this on tap and CBS was on a different planet. $25 a bottle is steep in price but it is absolutely worth buying a bottle to try. Get it on tap if you can.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

On tap at the Tap and Mallet in Rochester, NY. I got 2 5 oz pours.

Pours a fairly dark black, with a small foamy half inch head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells very strongly of maple, with Hershey's syrup, bourbon, and roasted coffee beans.,

I am finally getting a chance to taste this one, and it tastes exactly like I expected it to taste. Every advertised ingredient is on full display here- syrupy, ultra sweet maple syrup, sweet, creamy chocolate syrup, roasted coffee beans, and sweet bourbon. There is a pretty significant boozy kick on the end of each sip, providing a bit of bitterness to the very sweet flavors up front. I'm not getting a whole lot of roasted malt, but that's likely due to the loads of adjuncts in this one.

This is medium bodied, not quite as thick as I'd like, with a very syrupy mouthfeel. I have the feeling in my mouth that I often have after I eat pancakes. That sort of call-back to a memory I like- eating pancakes- is just one thing that makes this beer really nice. It has a lower level of carbonation, and is really drinkable.

One of the biggest bucket list beers for me is finally crossed off. It is honestly worth the hype, and absolutely amazing. The definition of decadent.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.75/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75


As one of two beers that passed through my area without my knowledge back in the day (the other was their Better Half), I had thought this would be a beer I never got to try. This 2017 release was a real surprise and despite the high sticker price, I grabbed two bombers.

I let this beer sit out of the fridge for 20-30 minutes before popping the cap. Black-bodied beer produced a big, creamy dark foam head... Aromas of chocolate, bourbon, maple, vanilla, and coffee were all well-expressed, and supported by more of the same on the sip. Really impressed with how clearly the maple bourbon came though. The body was full and smooth, more sweet than dry or roasty, basically what I had anticipated.

Better than KBS...

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Photo of Sparty1224
4.84/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving: Two separate 7 oz. pours into some tasting glasses at a CBS tapping event in Chicago. 2014 edition.

A: Pitch black. Pours a light tan head initially, but gets darker as it's agitated. Good lacing up the glass.

S: Nice dark coffee aroma up front, then soft bourbon notes come through. Maple syrup comes in at the end bringing a nice sweetness to it.

T: Coffee and bourbon right up front, then gets enveloped in maple sweetness, like you just took a bite of some of your favorite home-made pancakes doused in maple syrup. Finish is all fresh maple syrup, but not overpowering by any means.

M: Nice and full. Great balance of coffee and bourbon wrapped in a maple syrup glaze.

O: Man, where to start with this one. I've had the original from the bottle, the 2012 edition at the 15th Anniversary party, and now the 2014. This beer still stands as my favorite BBA Imperial Stout. It's not light-years ahead of some of the other greats by any means, but it's just a special beer and the intangibles put it over the top for me. There's nothing really like it. In a nutshell, it's KBS wrapped in maple syrup, and that's an improvement to me. There's times, especially as the beer warms, that it becomes slightly cloying or too sweet. But other times, earlier in the beer when it's a bit cooler, it's just perfect. The aura and legend surrounding this beer lives up to all the hype.

Recommendation: No matter what it takes, every fan of craft beer needs to try this at least once.

 1,487 characters

Photo of Bolivian22
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had the unbelievable luck of trying this at black rock in chicago on vacation. Pours pitch black with a small brown head. Smells of bourbon, vanilla, syrup, and chocolate. The smell is so balanced it was almost impossible to wait any longer before trying it. Spoiler: it tastes just like it smells. So smooth and balanced and this beer definitely lives up to the hype. A light alcohol burn (whisky flavored) with medium carbonation and a chewy mouthfeel. Overall this beer is fantastic and greatly deserving of its legendary status. So glad I had the chance to finally chase this whale down!

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Photo of ER527
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Words just do not do it justice..... This is the best beer I've ever had

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Photo of ali1987
4.65/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A- dense black body with a dark khaki colored head

S- caramel, roasted malt, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, toffee, coffee, maple syrup

T- delicious & complex: coffee, cream, chocolate, maple syrup, vanilla, brown sugar, roasted malt, a little bitterness of dark chocolate toward the back end ...

M- medium to full body, little carbonation, very creamy!!!

O- this is a great beer, & it for sure lives up to the hype... but I wish it had more chocolate & coffee and less maple syrup.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.99/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from bottle into a snifter glass

Appearance – The beer pours a thick and viscous black color with a one finger of tan colored head. The head has a good level of retention, slowly fading to leave a moderate level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is of a huge and delicious coffee and roasted malt smell mixed with a strong showing of chocolate. Along with these big and robust darker aromas are strong notes of maple syrup as well as sweet darker fruit smells of raisin, fig, and plum. A decent amount of a bourbon and vanilla are there as well and seem to add a nice dimension of warmth to the aroma inviting one to come and sip the fine roasted nectar that awaits the tongue.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweet chocolate and roasted malt flavor with the sweetness being a fine balance of maple syrup, vanilla, caramel and the darker fruits that were detected in the nose. While quite dark and roasty upfront, it gains even more robustness in the roast being accompanied by some smooth espresso flavors matched by a faint smokiness. The sweeter flavors all the while stay strong, wonderfully balancing out the big tastes of the brew. Around the middle of flavor profile comes some bourbon tastes mixed with a bit of a woodsy flavor. These flavors, like their counterpart aromas did, bring a warming taste to the brew, bringing on just the right level of “heat”. Right at the very end, after the warm has hit the tongue, a slight surge in the maple syrup flavor is delivered, culminating the taste and leaving a wonderfully smooth and warmingly sweet and roasted, but balanced flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is huge and thick with a lighter but creamy level of carbonation. The combo of thick body and subdued carbonation is magnificent for the big and bold blend of flavors in this dark roasty brew and truly create a fantastic medium for all the flavors of the brew a to bath the tongue in all the richness of flavor.

Overall – This is one amazing beer. One of the best if not the best stout I have ever had, and competes with the world wide I had run through the vanilla coffee randall. It is super smooth and approachable with a wonderful blend of flavors that make it a true pleasure to sit back and sip.

 2,304 characters

Photo of peacemakers48
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Honored to try the last batch ever of this fantastic beer. This is the 2011 version and according to the founders rep here, is the last of this beer. This is one of the finest beers that I have ever had. As close to a perfect drink as you can get. It tastes like breakfast stout with a subtle maple taste. Wow!

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Photo of jewski
4.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

An improvement on KBS. Bourbon is better balanced and the touch of sweetness works nicely with the base stout. Pretty much perfect.

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Photo of rsquared59
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Excellent! Smooth, alcohol comes through. Perfect sweetness at the end. Awesome!

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Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at the Bryant lake Bowl
A: rich black opaque, thick creamy sticky tan foam collar that graps the side of the glass leaving thick lace.
S: Coffee, chocolate, spice and fruit.
T: Rich coffee with a dark chocolate aftertaste, dark dried fruit in the middle, spice, oily up front and dry and grainy on the finish
F: Chewy, creamy, medium to medium low carbonation. The texture is infused with very fine bubbles.
O: Very lucky to have this on tap without having to fly to Grand Rapids.

 495 characters

Photo of SomethingClever
4.39/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

750 ml 2017 bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A: Nice mocha colored head tiny bubbled and creamy in appearance. Body is pitch black as is to be expected.

S: Coffee, chocolate, maple, and bourbon. The maple syrup and chocolate hit immediately then light hints of coffee with the bourbon bringing up the rear. The chocolate and bourbon are the most predominant smells though.

T: The ch plate is very strong and then the coffee with just the slightest bourbon with the maple syrup coming in at the end with a slightly chemical flavor.

M: This beer almost has the perfect feel it's creamy lush and chewy.

O: This is a pretty damn good beer the maple syrup has an odd presence in the beer though, it's not straight forward its muddled at the end. That being said the chocolate, coffee, and sublime mouthfeel though are worth the price of admission. What little bourbon presence there is I can hardly detect. Alcohol is fairly well hidden as well.

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Photo of Chuck_IPA_Mathus
4.41/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

pours like oil. fresh coffee, and Bakers chocolate are the overlying flavors. can taste the maple on the backend but would like to see that taste come out more in the front with more of the ALC catching you on the rear.

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Photo of drinkbeernoth2o
4.78/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Makes KBS look like a knock off. Wow

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Photo of dexterk1
4.76/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Outstanding! Smooth and silky mouth feel. Taste has sweetness(maple,chocolate) and a hint of whiskey. Great balance of the two. Worth the hunt to track this down.

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5/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I call this beer The Unicorn. It's the best of the best!

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.13/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Beer pours a nice foamy head that is dark brown and looks good. Beer itself is dark chocolate black with a nice syrup like texture upon view. It is delicious and inviting.

Smell is very interesting and good. Light sweet and sugary maple syrup note. There is a bit of lightly smoked bacon. There is also a slight bitter dark chocolate but it gets lost in the syrup.

Taste is good. Has a good maple syrup sweetness running through it with nice roasted malt undertones. The syrup is definitely strong and overpowers the other notes.

Feel is good. Heavy body with a slight thinness and syrupy feel. Carbonation is tingling with a bit of biting but goes away quickly.

Overall, a pretty good beer and definitely a bit overhyped. That being said, it is worth for the beer connoseur but not the average beer drinker.

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Photo of NinjaJesus
4.95/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

What a fantastic stout. A must try

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CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.68 out of 5 with 4,668 ratings
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