Founders CBS Imperial Stout | Founders Brewing Company

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Founders CBS Imperial StoutFounders CBS Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Founders Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.60%

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

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Reviews: 989 | Ratings: 4,289
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.17/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hand-bottle (gonna call this a growler) brought over at Friday night's tasting by Ditmier... huge thanks Eric... Poured into my small La Trappe glass.

Expected black beer... no light even when held to the bright kitchen overhead... dark tan head doesn't stick around ... descent cap.

Aroma is chocolate and coffee.. no real "maple syrup" and no vanilla... the "wood" aspect of it does remind me of the smell of maple wood... I know that sounds weird it is what it is.

Flavor has a great blast of roasty chocolate, but not as much coffee as I was expecting... much more vanilla than the nose... The above "maple wood" aroma is more pronounced than the nose... The body is pretty hefty with still a nice smooth carbonation that helps make this a very nice sipper.

Edit: I figured I had better describe the "maple wood" sensations I mentioned above... I can only make sense of it when I describe it to the Sonoran 100... that brew was filtered slowly through maple chips... The wood adds a unique sweetness that doesn't have the astringency/tannic notes associated with some wood aged beers.

I really wanted to like this one more, but it just seemed pretty one dimensional to me.

Thanks again Eric for going out of your way to bring this beer to Boise.... truly appreciated.... You're a good BA. :-)

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Photo of dar482
4.71/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The beer comes in a oily black color.

The aroma hits of bitter coffee, chunky chocolate, maple syrup sweetness, bourbon sweetness.

The beer hits of milk chocolate and vanilla throughout, combined with a strong bitter coffee and coffee ground flavor. Dried date and plum comes in the middle as the sweetness of the maple blends with the base beer to create complexities. Towards the end, maple sweetness takes over battles that aggressive bitter coffee flavor.

In the end, this is very much KBS with maple syrup and the maple sure does help cover up the flaws of KBS.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.67/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Review from various notes and thoughts from trying this at EBF, around Philly a few times and recently at ChurchKey in DC.

First off, I'm leaving my ChurchKey experience out of this since this beer on opening night there was oddly sour (and not the last beer I've had there that has been "off"). Appearance wise doesn't differentiate itself much from KBS, thick opaque black liquid with a thin deep tan/mocha head that fades quickly but leaves ok lacing.

Aroma is very similar to KBS, but not as boozy or coffee forward. Dominated by sweet notes of vanilla, oak, maple, sugars, etc with a mild coffee background. The maple is as strong or noticeable as the vanilla or bourbon and oak aromas, or as expected going into the beer. That's not a bad thing, as I prefer this aroma over KBS. Mouthfeel is very nice, thick, chewy, low carbonation, not overly boozy, very silky smooth. Flavors are similar to KBS but a little sweeter from the maple and a little more mellowed out. All the same notes from the aroma and the finish lingers forever. In the end I still prefer the KBS for the stronger flavors and less sweetness, but this is a very complex and pleasing beer and hopefully this will continue to make regular appearances on tap.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.84/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Hand bottle from a generous BA, thanks Andrew, I don't know if I'll ever be able to try this again so here are my thoughts,

A: Pours a dark brown with a light head, the carbonation is mild.

S: Coffee all the way. Like the best cup of coffee you have ever had. Elegant, strong and soothing.

T: The coffee is heavy in the flavour, it reminds me a bit of Peche Mortel on the first sip. The complexity goes through the roof as some whiskey and maple come to the party, very light hit of vanilla.

M: Smooth, full-bodied, robust.

D: I am so glad I got to try this legendary beer, I can see why it's in the top 10. This beer is incredible, on the short list of the best stouts I've ever had in my life.

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Photo of John_M
4.3/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was sampled after the 2007 through 2011 vertical Abyss and BA Hunahpu tasting at the finewinemike event, and I have to wonder if the CBS suffered by comparison. Especially after the BA Hunahpu, this beer really did not seem to show all that well (at least not as well as I was expecting).

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. On the nose, I get a considerable aroma of coffee grounds and light maple syrup, with some underlying citrus (surprisingly, I thought) and vainilla as well. While attractive, my recollection is that I thought this beer considerably more impressive on tap. On the palate, this beer is much better, as I picked up some chocolate, a hint of mint and light tobacco, in addition to the coffee ground flavor and vanilla. While the beer is at least moderately sweet, there's some bitterness on the finish that helps to counter that sweetness. Mouthfeel was medium bodied, and frankly, I thought the bottled version came across as just a bit thin on the palate. The beer finishes well, with some noticeable coffee, dark chocolate and light licorice.

The bottled version seemed a bit more complex to me than the draft version did, and I'm wondering if this beer wouldn't benefit from a bit of short term aging. This is a fine beer, no doubt, but it really didn't show as well as I was expecting during the tasting at finewinemike's.

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Photo of fredmugs
4.94/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had to change my rating after having this 3 times on draft during KBS week. The first review was based on having a bottle June '14 that was incredibly sweet. This was one of the best, if not the best, beer I've ever had. The aroma did not knock me over so I'll ding that a little to prevent this from being a perfect 5.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.94/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Love this beer. One of the main reasons is that it is just so seamlessly integrated- no one flavor dominates, each element of the taste is smell seamlessly flows into the next and plays well together. The pour is black, with a thin head and lacing. Nothing special there, but nice enough. The aroma, however is lovely. Nuanced notes of vanilla, Bourbon, chocolate, and a finish of Maple syrup. Each aroma is noticeable, but it makes a whole greater than a sum of its parts. Sweet, yes, but also complex. The taste is equally enchanting. What strikes me most again, is that each flavor is layered with the others to make a delicious whole. This time, it starts off with a bourbon and maple hit, with the bourbon flavor growing and sharpening into the long finish. The last note you experience is a nice chocolate note that picks up where the bourbon leaves off. Silky smooth, this beer just disappears, only the complex flavors make you linger to contemplate. An exemplary beer.

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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed on 08/26/2009 and poured into a snifter. I have a benevolent ghost from the east to thank for this. The beer is ebony with a small light brown head. Scattered lacing clings to my Darkness glass when the head recedes.

The aroma is immediately black coffee, roasted malt, and dark chocolate. Molasses is strong, and some vanilla is noticeable. Maple becomes evident as the beer warms, but it's not as strong as I was expecting. The coffee and roasted character seem to overshadow the maple in the nose. Other aromas are of oak and alcohol.

The flavor opens up with...well, black coffee. The coffee is fine, but wasn't maple supposed to be a big part of this beer? Isn't KBS a coffee beer? What about the maple?! Black strap molasses is present, as well as a strong roasted malt character. Dark chocolate is evident, and though the maple isn't strong it's more potent here than it was in the aroma, imparting a subtle sugary sweetness. The finish is dry and of bitter roasted coffee.

The beer is full bodied with low carbonation and a full, viscous, and sticky mouthfeel. This is a good beer, but I was expecting more maple character considering its purported presence. I believe regular Breakfast Stout to be superior.

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Photo of rudzud
4.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Managed to score a bottle of this at Julio's. A huge beer for review #500.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a super oily black with a huge, creamy mocha two finger head that fades to leave a thick cloud and halo.

S - Strong coffee, chocolate, and bourbon. There is a super light maple aftertaste. Its so incredibly smooth and rich.

T - More of the nose with super strong coffee and chocolate and bourbon. The maple is there on the finish but its not nearly as strong as I remember the draft style being.

M - So silky smooth and creamy, yet some nice fresh carbonation. the ABV is so well hidden, it drinks like a 5-6%!

O - Overall this is an amazing beer that is so masterfully ochestrated. It needs more maple syrup though. Alot more. This is still a great stout, just, not up to par with the on tap verson.

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Photo of weeare138
4.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears an opaque black with a small tan head that slowly fades into a mild cap. Scattered spots of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of oak, toffee, caramel, cocoa, & mild booze.
Taste echoes the aromas with more of a meat flavor with a touch of booze & coffee notes.
Mouthfeel is smooth, velvetty, warming, n chewy.

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Photo of mrn1ceguy
4.75/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This review reflects both a 2011 bottle enjoyed in 2013 and the 2014/2015 release. The maple adds a breakfasty smoothness that is incredible to enjoy. Throw in the barrel and this is an amazing treat. The second batch felt a little thinner, so no longer an "all 5s" beer, but still a top notch maple beer.

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Photo of corby112
4.47/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at Capones

Pours a oily complately opaque black color with a .5 finger chocolate coffee colored tan foam head that slowly dissipates into a thin ring and cap that lasts throughout. Very minimal splotches of lacing.

The maple is pretty prominent in the aroma balancing out the strong bourbon alcohol presence of the KBS. There is a nice roasted coffee presence that's accompanied by some chocolate malt, toffee, burnt toast, caramel and a healthy dose of bourbon.

The mouthfeel of this beer is silky smooth due to the additional aging in the maple barrels. The high ABV is extremely well masked even with the strong bourbon presence. All of the other roasty and malty flavors are balanced out by this sweet honey, molasses-like syrupy texture. This beers is ridiculously quaffable considering all that's going on and the high alcohol content.

As mentioned above, there are a lot of complex flavors going on here. Nice big roasty coffee presence, chocolate, chocolate malt, toffee, oatmeal, burnt toast and a very nice bourbon presence all wonderfully balanced by the sweet maple syrup flavor coming from the additional aging.

I could drink this beer all day and I'm looking forward to trying it again soon.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours jet black with a HUGE creamy and toffee colored head that sticks to the sides of the glass.

S - Light mocha, cocoa, a little bit of coffee, and bourbon. The alcohol is well hidden and there's no alcohol aroma (that I can detect).

T - Oak bourbon barrel tannins and moderate alcohol warming on the way down. Maple and light coffee flavors that's an absolute perfect blend...absolutely amazing.

M - Medium heavy body and sticky on the lips.

O - Just made my list as one of the best stouts I've ever had.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4.55/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From 750mL bottle to stemmed glass on 10/5/11
*From notes

- Bottle shared with siege06nd as a fine end to a long day of CBS hunting -

A: A good pour yields a whopping 1.5 finger head. The retention is top notch, as is the lacing - gobs of the stuff rimming the glass. Rich blackish-brown hue.

S: Freshly roasted & uncut coffee beans, toasted vanilla, hints of warm coconut and sappy wood.

T: This is a really, really, really delicious beer. Mellow charred malt, with some vanilla and bourbon on the mid. The finish is unmistakable: rich maple syrup, and lots of it. The longer is sits and coats the mouth, the sweeter it gets. Unreal.

M: In a word, perfect. It's absolutely luxurious and silky beyond compare. Viscous - thick as freshly laid tar, and jam packed with texture. Liquid velvet to the palate, it's just remarkable.

O: Who the hell knows if Founders CBS lives up to the massive, epic hype it's received. And who cares? What I can tell you is that it's simply a great beer - one of the best and most memorable in recent memory. Every facet here is on point, created with love and care by some of the best brewers in the country, if not the world. This is a monumental achievement that all beer lovers need to applaud.

Seek it out and find out for yourself.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.99/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a deep black with good carbonation leaving a short lived but healthy tannish head. A small dose of lacing clings to the glass after a few sips

S: Some maple upfront, bourbon, chocolate, coffee and oats. A little bit of booze stings the nostrils.

T: Upfront I get oats smothered in bourbon, chocolate and maple with a splash of bourbon. The flavors seemed to be a bit muddled and/or faded. Some waivering vanilla darts in and out. The finish has a sweetness coupled with a lingering roastiness, not bitter though.

M: Hearty for sure. Well carbonated, sweet, chewy. Loads of flavor saturate the palate. Pretty decadent feel.

O: I am extremely glad I finally got my hands on this beer. Nicely done. However, if I want a Maple Stout I will take a Berserker anyday.

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Photo of kscaldef
4.46/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark, with a 1 finger mocha head. Lots of chocolate and coffee in the aroma, didn't pick up much maple. Tastes rich and sweet and delicious. Coffee is the primary flavor when cold, but as it warms it reveals chocolate, caramel, whiskey, and maple. Really easy drinking. It's sweet but not syrupy or heavy, and the taste lingers forever. Very happy to have gotten to try a bottle of this.

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Photo of akorsak
4.59/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At Al's of Hampden. Last night and again this afternoon. Served in a mini snifter both times. 11 ounces of glory.

A: The stout is pitch black, an encompassing morass of depth, really a beauty to look at. The bottle pour has left only the faintest band of dark head behind, The viscous body has legs.

S: Sweet maple syrup paired with vanilla bourbon, coffee and roasted chocolate. Each aroma takes it time, gradually emerging as the stout warms. The maple is, by far, the most unique aspect, a rich sweetness cuts through the rest of the already-formidable imperial stout.

T: Imperialistic and coffee-drive, the first couple sips bring the coffee stout to the fore. The coffee buzz iz intoxicatingly good, coaxing the rest of the stout out. The bourbon and maple follow, bringing out the intensity of the stout. The bourbon lends vanilla and coconut before the maple comes through with a syrupy strength. That maple is strong and very dry, each sip left my mouth to deal with a dry sweetness that screamed out for more. The whole package, as strong as it is, just tastes right - a velvety smooth stout.

M: The swirling flavors, bourbon and maple and coffee and chocolate, come together like few other beers can. From the late-night neon din to a mid-day sit-down, CBS doesn't disappoint.

O: A beer like this deserves an addendum, an "I'm with you in Rockland" postscript. Each sip is so complex, so flavorful, that words can barely do it justice.

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Photo of sweemzander
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750mL bottle into a pint glass. Thanks chris for letting me revisit an old favorite!

(A)- Pours a lovely pitch black color. A nice frothy tan head and surprising lace despite the ABV.

(S)- Decadent chocolate with smooth raisin bourbon and subtle maple syrup. Tiny hints at cinnamon and vanilla. Just as awesome as i remember and then some!

(T)- Just how I remember it, and man is it glorious! Velvet-like chocolate, maple, molasses, and a sweet malted milk ball-like shake profile. Its just so smooth, delectable, and delicious, while still having a strong barrel-aged stout characters.

(M)- A perfect; smooth carbonation level. And a perfect balance. Despite a 10.6%ABV level, this is smooth as silk and delectable. Drinks more like a 7 or 8% beer.

(D)- I absolutely loved this on tap all those times I had the pleasure of trying it, but having it this fresh out of the bottle just further reminded and confirmed to me, this is simply one of the best stouts on planet earth. Sweet, malty, and a velvet-like creamy smoothness. Simply put, no other stout tastes like this one does.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.75/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

The darkest of brown, combined with black that makes a solid full 3/4" of tan head on it. Impressive as they come for barrel aged appearance.

Aroma was decadent, coffee, maple, bourbon, chocolate, oak.

The maple sweetness, heavy roasted malt, bitterness, chocolate, wood, and coffee in a lesser way, all really make for an insanely drinkable brew. Mild tobacco notes counter balance. An excellent breakfast beer.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.43/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

draft at bottle rev

poured too cold, got a good bit of maple then and not much booze.

more boozy as it warmed, but the maple really showed through. definitely a very impressive stout that could once have been considered the best, but nowadays has a lot of competition. still world class. mouthfeel is still great. a beer worth seeking out but not one that you should abandon everything for.

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Photo of barczar
4.49/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours into the half tulip an opaque black color with minimal dark tan head that dissipates into a hint of a ring around the glass. The pool of drips at the glass base show a clear caramel brown color.

Aroma is caramel, molasses, and heavy coffee, with vanilla and slight hints of oak and maple. Chocolate malt and bourbon provide a consistent background. Smoky, fruity chili comes out late.

Roast malt, vanilla, and chocolate carry the flavor profile, with an almost minty sweet maple flavor throughout. The finish is slightly bitter coffee. Bourbon is evident in flavors of oak and vanilla but not overwhelmingly boozy. Dark fruits...bruised plums, figs, come to play as it warms. An almost ancho chili-like flavor emerges...smoky and peppery.

Body is fairly heavy, syrupy with little carbonation, and a slightly alcoholic warmth.

Overall, a bit sweet for my palate, but very complex.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750 ml bottle. Served in a DFH snifter, the brew pours dark brown/black with about an inch light brown head. The head stays around a little while, and there's a good amount of lacing left behind on the glass. The aroma is wonderful, it smells like chocolate, coffee, maple, roasted and charred/burnt malt, vanilla and bourbon. The taste is pretty much just like the aroma, but with the chocolate, coffee, maple and roasted/burnt malt flavors starting out the strongest, and the bourbon/vanilla flavors getting stronger as the beer warms up more. Mouthfeel/body is full, it's rich, creamy and coating, with a moderate amount of carbonation. It's very easy and enjoyable to drink. I think it's an excellent overall brew, it's easily in my Top 10 favorite beers. I'm just glad I was lucky enough to get a bottle of this, it really is a great beer.

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Photo of pat61
5/5  rDev +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.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
4.57/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

EBF pour. Pours black and viscous. Smells of hearty coffee, burnt sugar and maple syrup with wood. Flavor is very roasty and dense with a bunch of java, chocolate syrup, maple syrup, burnt sugar, and bourbon. Espresso and dark chocolate. The feel is very syrupy and thick. Sticky with noticeable heat and lingering barrel character. Finally got to notch this one on the bedpost. A pretty terrific beer.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.65/5  rDev +0.4%
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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Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.63 out of 5 based on 4,289 ratings.
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