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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 | website

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: 979 | Ratings: 4,208
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 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 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 Sparty1224
4.84/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 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 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 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 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 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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Photo of rwf08
4.62/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is nothing special. Looks like any other stout.

Smell is of cocoa nibs, coffee, and whiskey.

Taste is the same but smooth and rich.

Mouth feel is velvety and rich. Like chocolate silk. But with whiskey.

Overall this is exceptional but I wouldn't say it is better than KBS. It is good but I like KBS much more.

Try it if you can but don't kill yourself for it.

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

A - Fairly thick and jet black. Beautiful creamy tan head. Sticky lacing. An absolutely gorgeous stout.

S - A nice bouquet of Cocoa, fresh roasted coffee beans and some maple peaking through. Booze comes through at the end.

T - A contrast of dark and milk chocolate prevail. Rich coffee beans add flavor and bitterness which contrasts with the sweet maple syrup that comes through at the end and stays through the finish. Some vanilla and cinnamon there too. Booze is there but not overwhelming. The flavors components shine independently but blend so perfectly to create a creamy and rich chocolaty/mocha/maple compound that is all its own, not like any other beer or style I've tasted.

M - Full bodied and a little syrupy when gulped (although why would anyone want to gulp this?) but when it's swirled around my mouth it becomes so incredibly smooth and creamy. Can't think of many beers that are as velvety.

O - Incredibly rich, sweet, and decadent. It absolutely lives up to the hype. This is one of those rare "Wow" beer. When you take the first sip you can't help but blurt out"Wow!".

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Photo of jtmcgraw
4.95/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a- Pitch black with minimal head that left quite a bit of lacing after giving it a swirl.

s- Bourbon and dark chocolate up front. The syrup seems to grow more prominent as it warms, overall very sweet. The bourbon and maple smell wonderful together.

t- Bourbon, chocolate, and coffee. As with the smell, the syrup comes out more as it sits. The alcohol is completely hidden. An incredible and dangerous stout

m- Very thick and sticky with low carbonation. I feel that this is where the maple syrup comes into play. It's such a strange thing and it fits so well.

o- Incredibly balanced and delicious, as well as innovative and different. It's unfortunate that this beer isn't more available, I suppose it just adds to the allure. My only complaint is that I can't get another bottle without thoroughly punishing my checking account.

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Photo of 2xHops
4.85/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's a glorious bottle of imperial stout.

This beer has everything going for it. The appearance is classic stout with the smell actually making you want to chug the beer. There were hint of sweetness to the aroma, and i assume that has to do with the maple that permeates the beer?

The taste is surprisingly wonderful. I have already loved the KBS, and this is no exception. You can taste a hint of maple to supplement the traditional imperial stout flavor profile. It certainly helped that the alcohol was not blatantly present.

I did not realize that this beer had 10.6% ABV, and you wouldn't know it when drinking. The mouthfeel was more smooth than a baby's ass, for lack of better analogy. It was unbelievable, and it's certainly one of the best stouts I've tasted in a long time.

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Photo of fatmcb1
4.92/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to GregSVT for bringing this over to the holiday party. Bottle poured into a Lost Abbey snifter.

Pours deep black with a rich dark brown head. Ample lacing lined the glass.

Sweet malt, bourbon, and coffee all intermingle on the nose. In the background there is maple, vanilla, and chocolate. The sweetness struck me at first, but as it warmed up, the bourbon got much stronger.

The taste is also very sweet, but there is a lot of bourbon notes as well. It is very complex, and incredibly balanced between sweet burnt sugar, chocolate, maple, vanilla, and bourbon.

Medium bodied, and rich carbonation.

Overall, this is the best stout I have had. If you haven't had this yet, you really should. HIGHLY recommended.

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Photo of youbrewidrink
4.82/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Once again my thanks to stowehop.

The color was as close to black as brown gets.

Light brown head, with roasty/boozey/sweet aroma.

The taste was a sweet bourbony malt treat. This was consumed at a slightly elevated temperature so the flavors were perfect in my estimation. The maple was very present and intensefide as we neared the bottom.

This was very drinkable.

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Photo of 33nickadams
4.43/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black and completely opaque.  Tan head almost non existent.  Very little carbonation streams float to the top.  

I first get chocolate.  Then the bourbon and very slight coffee.  Maybe even a little smokiness.  The maple is there, but barely detectable for me.  A little disappointed to sense a metallic smell.  It dicipates over time though.

Taste can be described in one word - subtle.  With so much complexity and different tastes-the coffee, chocolate, bourbon, the maple-there is not one that stands out entirely.  Very well balanced.  There is a nice sweetness at the end of the sip.  It's like a whole meal was tasted in one sip.  The only trace of any alcohol is the slight burn down the throat.  You're almost thankful of this to remind you that this is beer.

Like all of founders breakfast stouts the mouthfeel is silky smooth. Even though it is heavy, you're tricked  into thinking that it is lighter because of the complexity of tastes.  Perfectly carbonated.

Without a doubt, an excellent beer.  What was it worth the hype?I'm not so sure.  Anyway, I feel lucky enough to score a bottle , but a little ashamed at how much I paid.  All in all, trying different beer is a perfect metaphor of   life for me-  be in the moment, experience as much of it as you can, but try not to take it too seriously.

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Photo of hayesez
4.72/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Received a bottle of this from a generous BA...what a hook-up!

Split between two tulips and shared with some friends. Pours dark dark brown, allowing virtually no light to pass. Very thin head, that disappears very quickly. Not sure exactly how the filling and capping of this bottle happened, but I'm guessing that some of the "thin head" can be attributed to bottling a beer that isn't generally bottled. Looks very similar to this year's KBS as well.

A strong coffee aroma coupled with fainter whiffs of chocolate, cherry, and smokiness. Again, reminiscent of the KBS, with a little different twist.

The coffee and roasted malts stick around through the entirety of each drink. Definite cherry / dark fruit in there as well. I also continue to get hints of a very nice smokiness...this is a great beer. Although I do get a bit of sweetness in there, I think it can more closely be associated with a semi-sweet chocolate as opposed to maple syrup. I really tried to get maple syrup out of this beer, but just couldn't find it. Don't get me wrong - Great flavor, excellent taste, but no maple...at least for me. Nice and thick and creamy. Just how I like these kinds of stouts. Outstanding.

Overall , I was very impressed with this beer. It is a bit fresh and stinging, but it's also less than a month old. Still a very drinkable brew, especially considering an ABV of nearly 10%. This was a great introduction to the Canadian Breakfast Stout; now I need to track it down on tap.

Consumed: 3/19/2010

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Founders CBS Imperial Stout from Founders Brewing Company
100 out of 100 based on 979 ratings.
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