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: 993 | Ratings: 4,306
Photo of Tripphop
4.77/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a very dark color, blackish mahogony. Head is frothy, very mousse like, dark tan-brown color. Head is very creamy, aromas of maple and coffee creep up out of the glass nestled in cocoa and a bourbon heat. Flavor is spot on, although this beer doesnt really shine until it has warmed up completely to room temp, I would't even refridgerate this badboy. The maple is slightly subdued and the coffee roast and chocolate take the forefront. Finishes with a slight bourbon bite, but it is mellowed with the slight sweetness of the maple that just barely pokes it's head out. Overall, this is a sexy beer. I think that a lot of this b.s. about maple fading will be proven wrong with this beer. I predict the coffee mellowing first and allowing the maple and chocolate sweetness to shine. Only time will tell.

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

On-tap at Founders.

A - Black with a thin mocha halo. Little bit of clingy lacing.

S - Chocolate, coffee, maple, and roasted malt.

T - Alcohol and maple syrup up front followed by roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee. Dark fruit and a little bitterness in the finish.

M - Smooth, viscous, and low carbonation.

D - Wow. It was pretty good.

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Photo of beertooth
4.32/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

Inky jet black liquid with a chocolate ice cream colored finger of head that sticks around for a while.

The nose is wet oak, bourbon, cocoa powder, vanilla, roasted coffee, dark malts. Where's the maple?

The taste follows the nose with some strong bourbon notes, lot's of wet wood, chocolate, vanilla, coffee and roasted malt. It finishes with a sugary sweetness that I take is from the maple.

Mouthfeel is soft, slick, and medium bodied with a low level of carbonation. I expected it to be a little more viscous.

I'm really happy I finally got to try this, but I do believe I enjoy KBS more. I'm not saying this beer wasn't delicious, but the hype factor totally killed it for me. The $10 pour was a little rough too.

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Photo of mikul93
4.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A pours black with a nice off white head

S smells of coffee , chocolate and bourbon fill the glass. Awesome smelling beer

T wow wow wow! Chocolate, coffe, sweet maple syrup and bourbon all marry so beautifully. A nice slight hop finish at the end. Definately one of the best beers Ive ever had.

M nicely carbonated, medium to light body. Chocolate and coffee sit on the to tongue nicely. Delicious

O such a delicious beer! I will have to look for this again!!

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Photo of dismal
4.61/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at Kelleher's Irish Pub in Peoria. Was served in a snifter. The bartender was pretty awesome and knowledgeable and told me this one was tasty and she even compared it to the Kentucky Breaksfast Stout for me since this was my first time having it :) The appearance was pitch black with a nice big tan head. The head pretty quickly went down to almost nothing within a few minutes. Despite this happening it still left some, not much, but some lacing down the sides of the glass. Looks very good. I didn't get to much out of the aroma but from what was there it was some coffee and some chocolate as well as some roasted malts. Could have been just me but all the smell was pretty faint and not there but for what was there it was good, like I said was probably just me. The taste, oh my god! Pretty much incredible. Lot's of chocolate in the taste which I wasn't expecting but it was quite the pleasant surprise. There was also some coffee present and some roasted malt. I could also pick up on the bourbon/whiskey flavors and the oak, very nice. The taste was incredible. I've only had the regular Breakfast Stout which was extremely great but this one was amazing! Pretty thick mouthfeel which was just perfect. Drinkability was high especially considering the high ABV and the alcohol was hidden so well. I went in knowing they had this on tap only to have one and ended up drinking three it was so delicious. By far one of the best beers I've ever had. The regular Founder Breakfast Stout was amazing enough but this one, wow, I could drink this every day all day. Like I said, one of the best I've ever had!

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Photo of Get_Lowell
4.56/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

2011 batch opened in 2014.
Look: Pitch black with a decent layer of tan foam
Smell: Maple syrup, chocolate, caramel.
Taste: More maple syrup with very noticeable licorice notes. It's amazing that the syrup degrades over time into licorice, I never would have anticipated that. Lot's of chocolate in there as well. A fresh batch would be quite a different experience.
Feel: Very smooth overall, medium body, kind of wish it was a bit chewier.
Overall: I loved drinking this and I am really happy to have tried the 2011 batch. It's an excellent experience in the effects of aging beer and how the taste can change considerably.

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Photo of jimmy82063
4.7/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up at Deciccos - Ardsley poured into a tulip glass.

A) Murky brown with a nice tan head. Medium lacing.

S) Chocolate and some light coffee notes.

T) Wow, get the maple up front followed up by the coffee and chocolate. The bourbon finishes this one.

M) Silky smooth.

This beer is outstanding. I know I am not breaking any new ground there. What suprises me is the drinkability. While you do get the bourbon notes at the end, it is not overwhelming but complimentary. Hopefully this becomes more widely available in the future.

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Photo of joshuaseresse
4.92/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks Chad for the hookup. Shared with brian23456 last Sunday. Poured into snifters...lets see what this CBS hype is all about..

A - Pours a dark black with a mocha head with tints of ruby. The head is about a half finger thick. Lacing is really nice and creamy and there are patches of foam clouds in the middle.

S - Creamy, dark Belgium chocolate, light roast, caramel and maple syrup. Light oak and nice hints of bourbon. Tiny bits of char, tabacco leaf and candy like sugar.

T - Coffee and Espresso, roast, chocolate and really smooth bourbon. Maple syrup and a touch of peanut butter. Little bit of vanilla and oats as it warms.

M - Creamy carbonation and touch of heat from the barrel but it is well balanced with the roast of the coffee like flavors. Leaves the mouth a bit dry, just taking a drag off a nice cigar.

O - Yep, this stuff is awesome. Lives up to the hype, although I didn't expect it to be as crazy as it is. Way tasty stuff and something that I really enjoyed. Glad I got another bottle hanging out to try again in the future. Believe the hype...

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Photo of Droopy487
4.9/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This beer has been on my bucket list ever since I have been in the craft beer world. I finally got to see what the hype was about.

The smell was wonderful with deep, rich smells coming through. Probably one of the top beers I have ever smelled in my life.

The taste and flavor did not disappoint. Rich, maple shines through in this stout. It's not over powering and it's not underwhelming. It's right on par with what I wanted it to be.

If I was to critique this near perfect beer, it would be that it is a bit thin compared to other stouts. It wasn't a thick, rich feel, like I prefer when I drink big stouts. That's my only complaint...and it's not a big complaint. It's just my personal preference when it comes to stouts.

Good job Founders.

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

A very dark brown black body that lets in no light but isn't jet black, with a small but thick tan brown head that leaves good strong lacing throughout.

S - Right off the bat you get coffee with sweet tones of maple syrup. There are woodsy bark notes mixed in with strong cocoa, vanilla, and what I will call a hint of bacon. Absolutly awesome nose that gets bigger and more robust with some warmth.

T & M & D - Coffee, maple, syrup, bacon, chocolate all mixed together in an incredibly smooth sip. The beer is so well balanced and manages to represent all the flavors without overwhelming the palate. With all the flavors and the boldness of the beer you would expect it to be a sipper. Quite the opposite - the beer is so balanced and awesome that it goes down smoother than a milkshake and begs you to have more. It is a party in your mouth.

O - What a fantastic beer. One of the best of the styles I have had - I really looked long and hard for this beer and it did not disappoint. I am glad I found it on draft - now I am interested ot see what some age does to the bottle I picked up.


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Photo of tarheels86
4.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Tap at Paradiso Dupont.

A- Pours a near pitch black- more like a muddy deep ruby with a super thick, rich, creamy, reddish brown head that has excellent retention, beautiful reverse cascade, and giant sheety lace.

N- Nose is coconut, rather muted overall with perhaps some coffee coming through.

T- A bit hot, very bitter, raw cocoa, unsweetened dark chocolate, some spicy oak, lots of bourbon character coming through rather than what I would describe as "maple". Mostly comes across as coffee heavy.

P- Slick, full, a bit oily.

Much more in your face bourbon and oak than KBS or FBS.

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Photo of BeerNutz324
4.62/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber split with the wifey in honor of our son's 1st birthday.

Ap- dark, dark brown, basically black. Rich frothy khaki colored head has good retention. Head starts out about a 1/2 inch.

Ar- chocolate, bourbon, maple syrup, cinnamon with some dark roasty malts.

T- starts creamy and chocolaty and finishes with a bourbon note and some sweetness from the maple syrup.

M- creamy with a little bit of carbonation, thick on the tongue. The alcohol starts to warm the mouth after a long hold.

O- an awesome and complex beer that lives up to the hype. I don't think it is as good as regular FBS but still a winner in my book.

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Photo of emsjf
4.96/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Everything with the aroma and taste is so well-blended. After a year in the bottle, this brew really tastes like nothing I've had before.

CBS is definitely on the sweeter side, the maple syrup bourbon barrels deliver that, but not overly sweet. Roasty coffee and chocolate balance out the palate.

Super hyped brew, but in this case - believe the hype.

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Photo of Beerisheaven
4.43/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Major thanks to one of the best BA members, wisconsinbeer1 for sending me a bottle of this. I had no luck in getting one through multiple channels, but wisconsinbeer1 was so kind to send me one.

A - Pretty sinister to say the least. Pours basically black with a generous mocha head that is rich and thick. Good head retention with a slick film that coats the glass when drinking.

S - All of the goodness represented by KBS with not quite as sharp a bite, assumed from the sweetness of the maple. Choc, Bourbon, Coffee, and sweetness all layered into the profile.

T - Listen, it is a really good beer but this fits the Founders profile pretty consistently for me. That being, I tend to find that the bottle presentations fall off a bit when compared to the tap versions. For CBS, I did not really find this being noticeably different from KBS. The tap version seems to present the maple more forward, the bottle seemed to not present the maple in the flavor profile as much as the tap. All of the goodness is here, but I am not sure that I could distinguish this from KBS. I should have thought to do a side by side with KBS while drinking this to really ascertain. Rich choc, molasses, coffee, bourbon prominently featured.

M - Very rich and leaves a great oily sensation on the tongue. I found this to be the best aspect to this beer.

O - S0 happy to have had this compliments of Jason, but everything being said, I would be just as happy to more easily obtain a 4pack of KBS than lose your nuts chasing this. I would gladly have it over and over again, but will be sure to do a side by side with KBS next time to compare and contrast.

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Photo of kennylopez
4.4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had it on tap at Cloverleaf Founders tap take-over part two and reviewed from notes.

Appearance: poured into a 8oz snifter which was dark black and thick with a small fingers worth of head that lasted as I sipped on it.

Smells: I pick up a dark roasted coffee malt backbone with hints of sweet caramel and chocolate.

Tastes: a smooth subtle coffee base that blends with a bitter chocolate sweetness that is complimented with the barrel features like vanilla and toffee. Not a heavy roasted flavor like the nose made me believe.

Mouthfeel: for being an Imperial this stout is smooth and good drinking fresh. There is pretty good carbonation and a full body in the mouth as you drink it.

Overall: I am happy I got a chance to try this limited release, but I don't know if all the hype is as good as it is made out to be. Bottles were near impossible to get around me and the keg tapped out in 9 minutes where I had it. No doubt this is a great brew but I can not say it is out of this world compared to more readily available barrel aged stout. Good Job Founders just dial in the distribution better in my opinion, maybe 12oz bottle will go a lot farther.

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Photo of caskstrength
4.87/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

on tap a few times in the twin cities

Maple syrup sweetness takes totally awesome KBS flavors, mellows them a bit, and complexifies everything. Such a great idea to age a coffee stout in maple bourbon barrels. Promote the brewer who came up with that.

Not to be missed when available. Bottle it, and the King of The Stouts has arrived.

I don't know if I rated it higher than KBS, but it's better. But KBS is available in bottles, so that complicates my affections.

edit: just checked. I rated this higher. It appears I know what I'm doing.

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

Multiple pours at Founders

A: CBS pours a rich, inky black with a tan or khaki head

S: Oozes maple syrup, lightly caramelized vanilla, and creamy milk chocolate. Heavenly stuff.

T: Tastes like the world's best milk chocolate bar that's been soaked in maple syrup and bourbon. Rich fudge and coffee notes. Tons of milk chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and maple syrup.

M: Mouthfeel is rich, creamy, luscious, thick, slick, and oily. Endlessly drinkable.

O: One of the best beers I've ever had.

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Photo of Thirsty_In_Chicago
4.51/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Black Gold in Chicago. 7 oz pour into an 8 oz juice glass. Came out extremely cold - waited about 30 minutes before tasting. Pleasant coffee and maple aroma. Taste was the same, with flavors becoming more pronounced as the beer warmed. Outstanding mouthfeel. Some ripe banana aftertaste.

Overall very solid. However there were sky high expectations for this beer, and it's not on the same level as the heavy hitter BA stouts. I found it similar to '14 BCBCS, only sweeter, in a good way.

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Photo of ThePeskyDingo
4.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark brown, almost black in color. Opaque except around the edges. Tan head, not much lacing.

Smells of chocolate, roasted malts, hint of vanilla, and a hint of alcohol.

Tastes of cocoa, coffee, alcohol at the back of the tongue, and hints of vanilla. Very similar to how it smells.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and creamy, very low carbonation, and a sticky finish.

Very easy to drink. Wish I had more of this beer.

Expensive stuff... the rep said it cost the bar $188 for 5 gallons!!! Wow...

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Photo of themaj
1.51/5  rDev -67.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Def cooked!! And by cooked I mean way past prime. Smelled of funk and gym socks. Taste of rotten black licorice. Very disappointed in what I gave up for this beer.

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Photo of drgonzo3705
4.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Beautiful black pour with a nice chocolate milk colored head with good lacing.

S: Light coffee with a pleasant sweetness from the maple syrup.

T: Again light coffee with a nice candy sweetness from the maple.

M: Full bodied with a light creaminess and just enough carbonation.

D: I'll definitely have another, and definitely worth the hype. Great drinking stout. Despite the ABV this will disappear from your glass quite rapidly!

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Photo of Casedogg43
4.7/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Held on to this 22 oz bottle of CBS for 7 months. Opened it at "the right time". 7:30 am in line at DLD 2112, while pulling my eggs and steak off the grill! Yes, we tailgated DLD and did it right!

This is THE Breakfast Stout! And we drank it accordingly.

Appearance: Looks damn near black. Looks oily when poured.

Smell: Large on coffee and chocolate to make up a sweet smell.

Taste: Sweet of syrup, but not too much. Coffee was creamy and blending in perfectly with the Chocolate. And smooth, yeas very smooth. Warmed the belly to help digest the Breakfast.

Mouthfeel: Silky smooth, mid carbonation. We let it sit for 15-20 mins to warm a bit and let the taste cry for us to sip!

Overall: Every last bit of what I was hoping for and have heard about. I will look forward to this beer again! Might make this a tradition. DLD and CBS! Does it get any better!

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Photo of b3shine
4.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

8 oz. pour into a snifter at the brewery today (10/1) during the release party. Appearance is flawless; black with little to no head. Smells solid; malt and wood are both present, and you can catch a scent of the whiskey in it as well. Tastes great. All of the aforementioned items are present. This was my first maple imperial stout, and I enjoyed it. The maple wasn't too prominent, but it mellowed the flavors of the wood and whiskey nicely. Mouthfeel was great for a beer of its abv. This is a GREAT beer. Very excited to have waited in line with my wife (twice), and to have scored 8 of them today while getting to drink it at the pub too!

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Photo of kdmcguire10
5/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a Founders CBS snifter

Dark as night pour with a fluffy caramel head, 1 finger that dissipates rather quickly.

Sweet milk chocolate smell blended perfectly with espresso notes. The maple and bourbon ties it all together perfectly.

So incredibly smooth tasting. Roasted caramel and coffee notes. Slight sweetness from the maple, but it's not overpowering. It blends so well with the bourbon. The alcohol is so well-hidden with just a slight warming sensation on the back end. Everything a world-class stout should taste like. Wow.

Luxurious mouthfeel. Thick, luscious velvet-like texture. I could almost eat this with a spoon.

Epic beer! This is truly a masterpiece - a real luxury. The perfect stout in my estimation. This is the gold standard by which all imperial stouts should be judged.

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

A: Black, the way you think of coffee being black, with hints of fading brown.

S: The booziness sticks out a lot here. Stack maple, various coffee smells, and bourbon hints.

T: The maple here was a little much for me. Not to say it was bad, just didn't feel as necessary.

M: Syrupy and consuming.

O: Great beer. I'm going to have to try it with KBS side-by-side sometime to really hammer down the differences for me. Try this if you get the opportunity!

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Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
4.63 out of 5 based on 4,306 ratings.
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