CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout) | Founders Brewing Company

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CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout)
5,379 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: 5,379 |  Reviews: 1,255
Photo of cpetrone84
4.56/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Fathead's for opening day of the Steelers season! Great beer and great win!

A-pours a jet black viscous liquid with a thick creamy light brown head.

S-the nose is light, there is a fair bit of bourbon up front with some scorched wood as well. Notes of maple, vanilla, and hints of chocolate cake batter sweeten this beer up a little as lots of roasted coffee comes through in the back.

T-the flavor is bold and balanced, the bourbon and wood hits first subtly on the front of the tongue. the maple syrupy and rich vanilla add a nice balance and transition into the breakfast stout that was aged in the barrel. integrated roasted malts, burnt coffe and rich chocolate cake batter in the finish.

M-this is robust and full bodied, very rich and decadent with a soft carbonation holding the large body up just right with a very creamy feel to it.

D-this is a huge beer but very well balanced as the flavors integrate in cooperation. it is rich and tasty but has a complex barrel aging component to add complexity. well done stuff!

Go Steelers!

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

I had this at the Founders tasting at Big Hunt in DC in November 2010. Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) was pretty much completely black and maintained an excellent laced head. The smell was a mixture of roasted malts and whiskey; it smelled a lot like Irish coffee. The wood aroma was noticeable too. The taste was malty and delicious, with noticeable sweet coffee. There was some bitterness in the middle with a tiny amount of smokiness. The aftertaste was very smooth with the main flavours being sweetness and the whiskey. This is a very full bodied brew (thick, foamy, creamy) and when coupled with the bourbon flavour, it made CBS seem very... intoxicating. Delicious. I wanted more than the two glasses I had.

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Photo of tobin
4.72/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on tap at Ashleys in A2 during their Founders night

A: Very dark and opaque. Little head at all, though a good amount of lacing as it went down. Small amount of carbonation bubbles.

S: Mainly coffee with some vanilla, caramel, and maple. Good smell, but not overpowering.

T: Unbelievable is the only way to describe it--coffee, chocolate, vanilla, maple, caramel. Quite sweet and ever so delicious.

M: Medium to full body with fairly light carbonation. Exceptionally creamy.

D: Absolutely sublime.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.76/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Edited 10/19/11: On tap at Big Hunt in DC twice in 2009 and 2011. Pours pitch black with a big, super thick tan head that recedes slowly to a small cap and leaves lots of lacing along the sides. The aroma is stunning. This big coffee aroma, bourbon, and dark roasted malts from the underlying beer is still dominant, but the reason it's world class is the maple syrup sweetness. The Breakfast Stout is still easy to pick out with the heavily toasted dark malts and freshly ground coffee. But the maple syrup and bourbon takes over midway through the taste and leaves a lingering sweetness after each sip. The mouthfeel is as smooth as any beer I've ever tasted in this particular FBS category with soft but noticeable carbonation. It's not full bodied, but close. Something about the maple syrup seems to balance the coffee perfectly. This is my favorite BS in addition to KBS.

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Photo of glazeman
4.77/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured on tap at the recent Founder's event at Haymarket. Reviewed from notes

A: Dark, dark brown in color, though not quite black. There was a 1 finger mocha head on my beer. The head had excellent retention, and left excellent lacing.

S: The main notes I got where vanilla, maple, a little cappuccino, and a little earthiness.

T: The taste was a little more roasty than I had anticipated, but not anywhere near that of a porter. I agree with those that say the maple has faded somewhat, as I remember there being more maple when I had this beer at the Founder's Black Party back in April or so. There was also nice flavors of oats, and vanilla. Overall the taste was smooth, balanced, and terrific. Better than KBS in my opinion

M: The beer had an appropriately medium-low level of carbonation, a nice viscosity, and a great oat aftertaste.

D: One of the most drinkable beers I have had that is over 10%. There was no noticeable alcohol, and every sip left me wanting more. I polished of two 4 ounce servings in about 20 minutes and wish I could have gotten more.

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Photo of bjorumj
4.87/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.47/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

tasted at Haymarket during Founders taping event. Drove 2 hours into chicago because i have wanted to try this beer for a longgg time...hope i am not disappointed!

8 oz pour into small tasting glass.

Appearance: Black with dark brown head. less than 1 finger head that is short lived.

Smell: Oh boy, this smells great!!! Maple, coffee, and chocolate.

Taste: Maple sweetness right away(no cloying sweetness either, just the right amount) that gives way to roasty coffee. Also, has faint flavors of vanilla, oak, honey, and maybe some bourbon sweetness without any alcohol burn. Ends with more coffee and maple flavor tasting more integrated after several sips.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied. Carbonation is perfect. Smooth, absolutely no alcohol burn at all! Silky and sexy!!!

Drinkability: As if the taste wasn't amazing...the mouthfeel is great as well. Easy to drink alot of this beer. U would not think that its only around 9.5%!

Overall: FOUNDER'S please bottle this beer! No dissapointment here, it was well worth the wait! I would drive all the way to Grand Rapids for a pint of this beer at the tap room! This beer is better than KBS, but KBS is a solid beer that I love as well; one of my other favorite beers.

Went to the Founders CBS Release on 10/01/2011. All I got to say is I have been anticipating Fresh CBS since I tried it at the Haymarket!

poured into snifter by founders brew pub staff!

Appearance: 4.0 Dark black beer minmal head just a ring around the top of the beer.

Smell: 4.75 Smells like roasty malts, coffee, and bourbon. Its making my mouth water!

Taste: 4.5 Very sweet and roasty. Lots of expresso notes and bourbon. Subtle wood / barrel notes in the background and the expresso/bourbon combonation is a "one two punch" that dominates! This dark beer is very robust! Nice! This beer really becomes great when it warms up to room temp; It becomes a bit sweeter and you start to get the maple syrup in the finish and aftertaste. Not really very boozey either! I am impressed with this since its fresh!

Mouthfeel: 4.5 High end of a moderate bodied beer. Low carbonation levels. Chewy and viscous. Its done well.

Overall:4.5 Nice and complex just like I remembered! This beer will age nicely! I will always seek this beer out. One of my favorites fresh or aged! I liked it a little better when its was aged. But Fresh is still world class beer! Founders always brings it!

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

On Tap at Hamarket event- served in a taster

Appearance- Dark black with a finger of tan head. Good lacing.

Aroma- Sweet sugar, roasted malt, a touch of oak.

Taste- Vanilla from the oak, deep chocolate malt flavor, a hint of bitterness at the end. Mainly sweet taste overall but the maple here has faded with time.

Mouth- Nice full and creamy feel. Good carbonation.

Drink- For being so sweet and viscous it is quite easy to drink, good carbonation is probably to credit here.

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Photo of airohead2001
4.39/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a curbside review of this beer from a few notes that I scribbled down at the sampling at Haymarket in the west loop. That place is gonna make it big. I've got a feeling... Anyways, CBS is a brew I've wanted to try for quite sometime now. I knew it would happen eventually - my 8 oz. tonight were consumed from a small tasting glass at perfect temperature.

CBS looks very similar to KBS, but with a lighter, less fluffy head. The foam was more of a tan/off white as opposed to the brown of KBS - there was a half finger head that didn't stick around too long. The smell of CBS is what sets it most apart from FBS, KBS, and other excellent stouts. I get fresh coffee, brown sugar, vanilla, chocolate, maple syrup, and honey in the nose - seriously. Wow. The taste is fresh roasted coffee up front with maple and honey in the middle, rounded off with some bitter roasts in the finish. Drinkability is out of this world. No EtOH burn, not too sweet, not too bitter. I could easily drink 24 oz. or more.

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Photo of bonbini26
4.18/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Founders tap takeover at the Blind Tiger

Poured a dark black with a small head, not a lot of carbonation with this one, but it did produce a lovely brown head that retained and laced extremely well. Sweet nose with hints of maple syrup, caramel, and some oak. Many of same notes as KBS, with chocolate, oak, hazelnut, and cherry-vanilla, very well balanced. The feel was silk like, very smooth and was easy drinking even though there was a medium to full body with this one, the alcohol is also hidden very well. Overall an outstanding beer, but if had the choice I would choose KBS

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.18/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 6/27/2010. On tap at Founders. Pours black with a ring of tan head. Aroma of bourbon and sticky sweet roasted malt. Flavor of bourbon up front and lots of sweetness. Much sweeter than the KBS which must be due to the maple but I don't actually taste the maple sugar specifically, just a general sweetness. The bourbon also stands out more to me in this one. I had high hopes for this one and thought it would be better than KBS but it wasn't for me.

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

Served in an oversized Brandy snifter at the Founders Brewery. From notes from August 2010.

A: Black: Like space without the stars*

S: chocolate, dark fruit, maple syrup

T: Amazing. woody overtones, with the traditional Breakfast stout complex combo of perfect parts coffee, chocolate, caramel, toffee, and chocolate covered fruit, but with a mellowed out boozey maple syrup liqueur almost back. Where it excels more than any other beer I've had is in the balance of all the flavors. It truly is the perfect stout. The 6-8 months spent in maple syrup soaked bourbon barrels really added an amazing touch flavor, changing the whole beer.

M: full bodied

D: I'll say I could drink it all night - and I could - but it'd just be an early night.

This is by far the best beer I've ever had that was so closely watched- constantly under a microscope. It exceeded all my expectations. Beg, Barter, or Steal (not really) for this bad boy because everyone should experience it.

*Spinal Tap reference so you KNOW it's good.

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

Got a 12oz bottle in a trade, bottled by Founders. Only 50-some bottles from the release. Like stated, poured from a 12oz dark bottle with no label. Pours a pitch black, pretty thick looking at first glance as well. Absolutely no head rises for the first 3/4 of the bottle, so I swirled and poured the rest a bit more aggressively. Now a very nice size brown head rises...very frothy, and has excellent retention! Even leaves VERY sticky patchy lacing all around the glass. An ideal looking stout!

Aroma at first is malty, roasty, and ironically...a tad hoppy. Then I let it sit for a few minutes. Now its awesome! Loads of sweet maple syrup and chocolate.

Flavor...WOW. Out of this world. This beer did not disappoint! Great thick chewy mouthfeel, chocolate, toasted malts, and thick sweet maple syrup! I'm not sure if this is so chunky due to it being bottled...but it's a little unusual. Regardless, it doesn't scare me away. Thick, low carbonation, chewy, malty, sweet, lightly boozy mouthfeel. Delicious! This needs to get bottled more often!

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

big wood is a son of a gun. Big thanks to Joseph for hooking me up with the tap knowledge. You are a prince, sir!

looks sinny in the glass. I know it's wrong! But I must have the juice! Black, low carbonation. Gorgeous.
I hate being poured a cold stout. This shit shoulda been in a cask. Oh, who am I to bitch and moan!? First aromas of coffee, wood, roasted malts. I sip, I laugh. It is beautiful! Full of rich coffee and chocolate. Sweet and roasty.
Eventually it warms. Brouwers is so beautiful with tables and tables of full glasses of beer warming. It is our warmth and mirth that elevates the temperature of the beer. The maple becomes gigantic, with vanilla and wood and coffee jockeying for position. It makes me feel as though I should not be eating pancakes with cold syrup. Heat, man! Heat!
Gorgeous, gorgeous. I only had one and split with the lady for it was beautiful to behold and I wished for as many people to enjoy it as me. And, of course, it was still kicked by 6.
Thank you Founders.

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

had this on tap at Brouwer's Big Wood Festival. This review is from both when it was cold and as it warmed up (this made a huge difference)

poured a rich thick viscous black with a very smell dark brown head that disappeared almost immediately.

the smell when it was first poured and cold was very similar to the KBS but as it warmed up the maple really came out and it was much smoother and less boozy smelling than the KBS.

cold this tasted very similar to KBS with a little bit more smoothness. as it warmed up the maple flavor really came into play and the entire beer got way more complex, rich and satisfying. very delicious with great subtle coffee and chocolate flavors.

great thick viscous mouth feel that is very very smooth.

very good drink ability. its so rich that I don't think I could have drank more than the 12oz's of it that I did but a world class beer will absolutely have it again and try and search it out.

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Photo of genog
4.63/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap one night after I had a lot to drink. We stumbled into bodega, and this was there for us to have. Franksnbeans bought me this one and I can say it is worthy of the hype.

Poured a dark black color with just a hint of some off colors at the top next to the dark tan head. Smell is dark chocolate, coffee and some light whisky type aromas. The taste is what just kicks you in the teeth and makes you want more. Mouthfeel coats your tongue awfully thick, and makes you smack your lips. Worth the wait, and wish I had more.

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.65/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In a perfect world I would get this on tap in the morning before I went to work. I would put it into mug, just like a cup of coffee. Personally I think this kills Black Biscuit, better than Kentucky Breakfast Stout, but not better than Breakfast Stout. That beer is just delicious.

The pour on this one is thick, like sludge. It coats the glass with a layer of beer and ruins everything it touches. I accidently got some on my shirt and I had to burn it, no chance of getting that stuff out. No head, kind of disappointing but it was thick.

Smelled like coffee, chocolate, whisky. These are three of my favorite things. Strong roasted coffee beans, milk chocolate, and a nice strong whisky smell make this a true stunner.

Just like what was mentioned in the smells, this thing is right up my alley. It doesn't have one character stand out, they all hold hands together perfectly. The whisky is fairly strong, which is what I love in barrel aged beers. The barrel just pushes out the great roasted flavors and sweetness'.

I want this every morning before I brush my teeth. An amazing beer that I was so happy to finally try.


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Photo of WeisGuy
4.5/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Ashley's in Ann Arbor for the Founders event.

Pours a deep black color with a one-finger mocha colored head. Head retention is decent and lacing is very nice for a big stout. Aroma is dark chocolate, burnt malt, and toasty oak with a substantial maple component and a very subtle coffee note. The taste is much smoother than the regular FBS, which is the base beer for CBS. Like the aroma, the taste is led by dark chocolate and deeply toasted malt with considerable toasty oak barrel and moderately sweet maple syrup flavors. The flavors are very well integrated and smooth with a lingering bourbon heat and a much diminished coffee component from FBS. Mouthfeel is full-bodied with moderate-to-low carbonation and a mild lingering alcohol warming. The drinkability is fairly high for the abv. The moderate sweetness balances out the toasty and bitter malt and coffee notes very well, and the complexity is great. Overall, this is a great beer that definitely lives up to the hype. However, after trying KBS and FBS (and Black Biscuit) side-by-side with CBS, I slightly prefer FBS and KBS. Here's to hoping Founders bottles this gem in the near future!

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Photo of jdense
4.62/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Big Hunt, DuPont Circle DC, via Beervana ex-patriate and BA Supreme johnmichaelsen. Thanks, John!

1/4 finger tan head, medium-slow dissipation in small nonic glass with above average lacing. Dark brown/nearly black opaque body, couldn't see any effervescence, even when held up to the (limited Big Hunt) light. Taste is ultra-complex, coffee, some bittersweet chocolate, toffee more than molasses or caramel, with some vanilla from the barrel but I didn't pick up any maple aromas, noble hops. Taste mirrors the nose, with a dry finish due to the oatmeal. The barrel aging certainly tamed the ABV which wasn't very noticeable, decent but not overwhelming effervescence, slight bit of stickiness. Despite relatively high ABV quite drinkable. A high standard in the art of brewing, one of the best beers I've ever had-I came back the next afternoon for another glass! Worth seeking out at all cost, along with Barley Brown's Havoc one of the best AIS I've had.

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

I had the pleasure of sampling this at a relatively recent kickass Founders promo at...where else in NYC...The Blind Tiger Alehouse. Into a tulip glass, it poured black with little visible evidence of carbonation, yet one finger of brown head that retained and laced extremely well. Very sweet nose, with caramel and maple syrup coming to mind, but also many of the essences similar to KBS...chocolate, oak, hazelnut, and cherry-vanilla. The taste was just a tremendously balanced mix of the aforementioned, tilted toward the sweet end of the spectrum, with a maple/caramel/chocolate sweet finish. The feel was like liquid silk; no carbonation and medium to full thickness. This was an excellent beer that went down WAY too easy, with such a well-hidden alcohol content.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.52/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served from tap into a goblet at the Founders event at Duckworth's. Poured pitch black with a minimal tan head. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, smoke, wood, molasses, and slight alcohol. The flavor was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, coffee, alcohol, and a smokey note on the followthrough. It had a heavy creamy feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this beer blew me away. This might be one of the better Imperial Stouts I've had to date. I loved how the mouthfeel on this one was both heavy and creamy at the same time making is scarely drinkable. This brew had an awesomely well balanced flavor and nice aroma to boot. Seriously, what else could you want in a beer? This is a must try if you have never had it before and if you have and are like me, you want MORE!

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Photo of Habmike
4.6/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Duckworths in Charlotte. Reviewed during the Founders Backstage Beer Dinner.

Black to the edge with light to medium brown head. Low retention with low-mid lacing.

Sweet chocolate and vanilla coffee flavors. Hints of maple in the aroma as well.

The flavor is similar to the nose with a much more intense assault on the taste buds. The different aspects of the taste meld together nicely to make for an excellent spectrum of flavors from the beginning to the finish.

Viscous and silky. Medium to low carbonation.

Sessioning this would be a kind of sick way.

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

Had this on tap at a Founders event at The Big Hunt in DC. I've been looking forward to this one for some time.
This is aged in bourbon barrels that previously aged maple syrup.

CBS pours a pitch black opaque color with a creamy brown head with good retention.

Smell is wonderful. Chocolate, cream, coffee, maple syrup, vanilla and some booze. Could be a little stronger or maybe it is still too cold.

Taste is way stronger. Dark malts, bitter chocolate, dark fruit, maple syrup and oak/bourbon. Aftertaste is delicious and persistent: chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and then, only then, espresso coffee! I'm amazed at the complexity of this one.

Body is heavy and carbonation is just right: strong enough to boost the drinkability, low enough to let the flavors come thru. Alcohol is noticeable in the end.

One of the best beers I've ever had.

Update: smell got way stronger when this warmed up a bit. Maple notes also became more proeminent. I also saw this beer being poured in a proper glass and it looked way better with persistent head and nice lacing, so my rating is going up in that department.

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

A whale captured. Another top beer that is far from overrated. A creamier version of KBS. On tap at Blind Tiger. Pours a black color with a caramel colored foam head. Has an aroma of chocolate, coffee, roast, and bourbon. Has a sweet chocolate start, with coffee spice on the back end. A nice velvety chocolate finish. Medium mouthfeel. Despite what the great Damico says, CBS is better than KBS. It is creamier which tempers the abv. You'd think one adverse to boozy beers would agree.

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Photo of hoppymcgee
4.42/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A pleasure to have this as my 150th review! Got the absolutely last pour of this at Blind Tiger in Manhattan, NYC.

A: Dark as heck with an extreme amount of brown foam (like I said this was the bottom of the keg). Still very appealing.

S: Oak, chocolate, bourbon and a hint of maple (I thought this would be more prominent in the nose, especially at the bottom of the barrel). Sweet! Pun intended.

T: Not as sweet as other reviews indicate. Roasted coffee, wood, mellow bourbon, and maple syrup which blends in very nicely. Decadent.

M: Silky smooth. I like the mouthfeel and the aroma combined better than the taste. Not thick at all - almost drinks as if it were on nitro.

D: Even after a filling pizza dinner, I thought the ~8oz. I had was very satisfying and not near cloying.

Overall, while Alan J. is away the Tigerites will still obey - respect beer!

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CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout) from Founders Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.66 out of 5 with 5,379 ratings