CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)
CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American 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.

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,409 | Ratings: 6,086
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -14%
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.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.56/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this has been on my must try list for an awfully long time, and i thought i might never get the chance. i owe founders a huge thank you for making this one again, bottling it, and releasing it on a fairly large scale, at least as far as these things go! so awesome, especially in this climate where the nerds and wannabes are waiting to come with the hate, dismantle a legend like this, and say how great their local adjunct imperial stout is comparatively. i think thats a bunch of crap, but i do feel for founders on this a little bit, you cant please everyone, and no doubt the rest of the breweries out there have come a long way since this was first released, but it is as good as they say it is, and i was not disappointed at all, despite some less than fully supportive feedback i have heard about this beer this time around. in some ways, people hear about a beer like this for so long and there is no way it can live up to the expectations. in other ways, its brilliant, and a reminder of how good something like this can be when patience, subtlety, and attention to detail are brought together in this way. the coffee and chocolate are exceptional in here, but somewhat less intensely forward as some of us have come to expect them in the new school beers in this style. i like them a little more well incorporated like this, the dark roasted barley right there with them, its a fine synergy and complexity, really awesome, and the coffee has a lot of character, light smoke, char, cocoa and earth, a touch of fall spice even, which i think is exacerbated by the heavy oak in here. in the nose and the flavor, the maple is really forward, as much as i always hoped it would be, sweet for sure, balancing the intense deep end bitterness of the grain, coffee, and chocolate. its natural tasting, and i think works so well with the bourbon this whole thing is soaked in. the chocolate depth and frothy thick body love the maple too, it makes the beer sort of syrupy and dense but also earthy and natural and smooth, even slick going down. tobacco, barrel burnt bits, birch and oak, spent espresso grounds, and a velvety richness that is uncommon to say the least. this is so layered and big, boozy for sure, woody, and complex, a truly beautiful example of the style and a neat variation of one of the best big stouts there is, the maple really sets it off. thanks to founders for having the courage to do this one again in a world where the haters always seem to be heard for some reason. killer beer, a highlight of the holiday season for me, and one that lived up to the high expectations i have held for so long...

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Photo of acurtis
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.72/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This has been my white whale. So happy to get to try it. FINALLY

A: single finger creamy dark tan head on a jet body with excellent lacing. No light getting through

S: coffee, vanilla, dark fruit, spearmint, bourbon booze, milk chocolate... Really a touch light on aroma but picked up as it warmed.

T: much sweeter than I was expecting. The coffee flavor is all throughout but without much bitterness. Maple and vanilla dominate. Bourbon is disguised as applying sweetness without the liquor sting. Complex and flavorful. Nothing off putting and is close to the hype as almost no beer can match the hype like that surrounding this one.

M: may be the best part. So silky smooth, perfect degree of coating the palate. No bad aftertaste.

Overall: so happy I got to try it. Now that I havr I will likely randomly and unintentionally come accross it a dozen more times. Worth the wait but still not the best beer I have had but damn close

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Photo of jaydoc
4.58/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to bastu for sending me this one!

Pours an opaque black with a dense 3 inch foamy dark khaki head that settles to a small cap. A nice latticework of lace sticks to the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, coffee grounds, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, and maple syrup. Taste is of dark roasted malt, maple syrup, coffee beans, dark chocolate syrup, and a bit of alcohol. There is a nice roasty/cocoa bitterness on the finish that lingers on the tongue and a slight alcohol burn in the back of the throat. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is an exceptional beer that completely lives up to its hype. Hands down, one of tne of the best stouts I have ever had.

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Photo of Texasfan549
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -14%

Photo of Knapp85
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Managed to get one of twelve bottles at Abe's on the day of it's release. The beer poured out as a very dark black color, nice and thick oily looking body with a brown colored head on top. The head lasts for a little bit and fades in time. The smell of the beer is sweet and lightly roasted with some maple, chocolate and coffee aromas. The first sip is sensational, I couldn't believe how great this tasted. The blend of maple and coffee was fantastic. Such an interesting flavor it's hard to explain. The mouthfeel of this brew is creamy, thick and rich. Overall this beer is great. There isn't many other ways to explain how good this is. Makes me wish I could have gotten more. So glad that I got to try this beer finally.

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Photo of GRG1313
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of djrn2
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +7.5%

Photo of metter98
4.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Rattle 'n Hum, New York, NY

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high dark tan head that slowly died down leaving lacing on the surface and down the sides of the glass as well as a collar around the edge.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of maple syrup and bourbon in the nose along with some notes of oak.
T: The taste is very well balanced between flavors of bourbon, chocolate malts, coffee, maple syrup and roasted malts. The maple syrup barrel aging also contributes a slight amount of sweetness.
M: It feels full-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. Warming from the alcohol is present in the finish.
O: The beer is extremely easy to drink considering its strength because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

Serving type: on-tap

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Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
4.41/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of nmann08
4.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of superspak
4.38/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

6100th review! 750 ml bottle into snifter, 2017 vintage bottling. Pours pitch black color with a 1-2 finger dense and rocky khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Fantastic appearance. Aromas of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, nutty dark roasted coffee, caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, and dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of coconut, molasses, smoke, and roast/toast/oaky earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt, chocolate, coffee, and maple syrup bourbon barrel notes; with good strength. A bit muted on aromas, but has no booziness. Taste of huge milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, nutty dark roasted coffee, caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, and dark/brown bread; with lighter notes of coconut, molasses, smoke, and roast/toast/oaky earthiness. Light roast bitterness and bourbon/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, nutty dark roasted coffee, caramel, maple syrup, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, toasted oak, dark/brown bread, light coconut/molasses/smoke, and roast/toast/oaky earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, chocolate, coffee, and maple syrup bourbon barrel flavors; with an awesome roasted bitter/sweet balance, and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Slightly increasing dryness from roast bitterness and bourbon/oak spiciness. Light-medium carbonation and full body; with a very smooth, creamy, silky, velvety, and rich mouthfeel that is fantastic. Slight chalky roast and oak tannins. Minimal warming 11.7%, with zero barrel booziness lingering after the finish. Overall this is an amazing barrel aged imperial coffee stout! All around incredible complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt, chocolate, coffee, and maple syrup bourbon barrel flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the huge ABV. Perfectly balanced between barrel, malt, and chocolate/coffee flavors. It has some noticeable differences from KBS, but is really not much of an improvement. Less coconut from barrels, added sappy maple syrup flavors, and a bit more bourbon/oak dryness. My rating was the same. A highly enjoyable offering as expected.

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Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.4/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of biboergosum
4.23/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle - so what exactly makes this 'Canadian'? That it is aged in Bourbon barrels infused with Michigan maple syrup? Riddle me that.

This beer pours a solid black abyss, with the scantest of amber basal edges, and four fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and bubbly brown head, which leaves some stellar random cobwebbed lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.

It smells of rich medium chocolate, maple sugar cookies, a subtle Bourbon oakiness, thick cafe-au-lait, some weak toasted graininess, and very tame earthy, musty, and floral green hop bitters. The taste is bready and doughy caramel malt, bittersweet cocoa pudding, maple-vanilla cream doughnuts, ephemeral day-old coffee, a still kind of sneaky American whiskey woodiness, some mild free-range char, and an ephemeral earthy, herbal, and floral hoppiness.

The carbonation is pretty low-key in its comatose-seeming frothiness, the body a tenable heavyweight, and actually quite smooth, with a slick creaminess slowly evolving as we move along here. It finishes sweet, the malt, chocolate, and maple/vanilla all coming along for the lingering ride.

Overall - yup, this is indeed a well-constructed brew, and I always appreciate not getting smacked across the palate with the wood. The sugary flavours meld very nicely, and the 11.71 points of the ol' wowee sauce are equally and expertly integrated. Great stuff!

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Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kojevergas
4.08/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Brown glass grumbler shared by the very generous Collins, who got it filled in Vermont 8 days ago. Expectations are sky high given its reputation, my love for Founders, and more specifically my love for KBS. Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Served cold into an Adelbert's stem-tulip and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. 10.6% ABV.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: None. No lacing. To be fair, this is a growler pour.

BODY: Opaque dark brown-black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears undercarbonated. Not unique or special looking.

AROMA: A hint of maple syrup. Bourbon character: faint vanilla, a bit of oak. Dark malts, chocolate malts. The maple rocks my world; that's damned inviting. Certainly on the sweeter side, but it doesn't evoke a dessert beer. I find no coffee character whatsoever. The chocolate is far less pronounced than I expected; at most I get some chocolate malt, but no authentic chocolate. Cream. Maybe some caramel.

No yeast character, overt alcohol, hop character, or off-notes come through. It doesn't have any dark fruit, char, or burnt notes. Roasted barley isn't present, and it's usually a note I miss sorely, but based on the aroma its absence doesn't bother me.

Aromatic intensity is pretty high.

Has easily the best maple character I've ever come across, especially as it warms.

TASTE: The maple syrup isn't as prominent as I'd like, but boy is it good. The dark malt and chocolate malt backbone is nice, and lends it some apt sweetness. Not so sweet that it's a dessert beer. The chocolate is nice, but isn't as evocative or authentic as it could (i.e. should) be. I find no coffee whatsoever. If caramel is present, it's damned subtle - just as it should be. Cream.

No yeast character, hop character, off-notes, or overt boozy alcohol comes through. I would like some roasted barley presence. Not nutty, burnt, toasty, charred, or ashen.

Very well balanced, without too much sweetness. Absolutely cohesive, and almost gestalt. The maple note is emerging more as it warms, which I adore. Good depth and duration of flavour, though the aftertaste doesn't linger. Nice intensity of flavour.

The bourbon barrel character is a bit too subtle and reticent, but it does complement the base beer very well. Subtle vanilla and marshmallow notes are present - and both are marvelous. It doesn't have the white oak you might look for in a bourbon barrel aged beer, but frankly it just doesn't need it. I've experienced bourbon barrel notes that are better than these, but it's rare that the bourbon character just melts into the flavour profile like this does.

Absolutely an intricate build for an imperial stout, but not the most complex brew I've had. As much as I adore it, I'm not finding any coffee whatsoever.

TEXTURE: Creamy, smooth, wet, unrefreshing, slightly overcarbonated, and aptly soft. Slightly gooey, which coaxes out more nuance from the marshmallow. Full-bodied, with a perfect thickness and perfect weight on the palate. Overall presence on the palate is fantastic. This texture elevates the beer - mostly by staying out of the way and just backing up the intricate flavours. Not as sticky or syrupy as you'd think a maple syrup imperial stout would be.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

OVERALL: Not a sipper because it's so damn good. The ABV isn't unnoticeable, but it's not a boozy brew. This is hands down an incredible imperial stout and - as it warms - has some of the best maple character I've ever experienced period. Worth seeking out, but do serve chilled - not cold. This is a beer that's meant to be savored, and I'm happy to say it's worthy of the hullabaloo. Huge thanks to Collins for the share. The maple is transcendent, especially as it warms.


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Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As lavish and lush as any beer I've had. The culmination of roast, espresso, maple sweetness, malted milk, and bittersweet chocolates is nearly overcomming, but is also charming in its simplicity.

The beer opens with an extremely creamy and volumnous pour. A creamy tan head forms on at the top of the glass as the opaque black beer settles and cascades while the foam rises. The head reliquishes some control because of the emmensity of alcohol. Amazing to see this amount of foam character from such an alcoholic and syrupy beer.

Dominant in its aromas of espresso, cocoa beans, nutty maple, and roasted barley take hold of the nose. But their intensity is unmistakable. Strong bourbony alcohol scent rises as the beer warms and stimulates the olfactory senses. Simple in variety, but complex in strength.

Flavors continue where aromas end. Extreme flavors of espresso, cocoa, maple syrup sweetness, and roasted barley set the tone. Malt sweetness amplifies with maple contributions while medium attenuated malt flavor gives a sturdy foundation to support the robust complementary flavors. Smoky sweetness accompany the cocoa-coffee attack. Esters and phenolic spice are also foregone thus limiting its complexity. Bourbon alcohol flavors are evident and gives a bit more fullness to the taste.

The mouthfeel is structual and heavy. Creamy, rich, and round while also smooth, velvety, and somewhat sweetish in weight. Bitterness arrives from a lot of angles: hops, espersso, cocoa, and alcohol. Avoiding a cloying feel, the beer has finishes malty-rich with lingering maple syrup flavor in aftertaste.

A very rounded and sweeter variety to the ever stable KBS with maple sweetness that shares the stage with coffee and bourbon. These offer a part of a distraction and a complex note all at once. Complex in its sheer proportions of relatively few dominant flavors, yet simple in its intent. Coffee- Cocoa- Malt- Maple. And it succeeds at every faucet. It has earned its way onto the worlds greatest beers and rightfully so.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev -3.2%

Photo of Boone757
4.33/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of emerge077
4.54/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Closed out the day with 2 pours of this at DLD '09.

Looked much like KBS in the glass, a thin cap of dark brown creamy mocha foam that gently stuck to the sides. Black oily liquid. Fantastic maple aroma that took the edge off the raw coffee roast, and sweetened it up ever so slightly. Smooth and supple feel, low carbonation, almost slippery. Rich chocolate & bitter coffee elements from the stout, soft maple traces, and buttery vanilla from the barrel. ABV was well hidden, and I had no problem finishing the 10+/- ounces that were combined in one cup. The maple syrup/bourbon barrel really added a nice extra dimension to it, without too much additional sweetness. This was the only guest tap I sampled at DLD, and I felt lucky to try it, though that doesn't factor into the score.

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CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.65 out of 5 with 6,086 ratings