4AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
I like chocolate stouts, coffee stouts and oatmeal stouts, so if a beer were to combine all three styles into one it would probably blow my mind, right? Founders Breakfast Stout does just that, well the combination part at least. And while it is a very good beer, it doesn’t quite amaze me to the point that I would consider it among the best of the best. However, the fact it is able to do what it does as well as it does is commendable and it’s a tasty, palatable beer.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. This beer pours like used motor oil as it’s pitch black with no ruby red around the edges. It forms a small, brown, creamy head that does leave a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is exactly what I’m used to in a good stout: dark roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate with hints of dairy. It’s actually not quite as potent in the nose as I’d prefer, as I really have to get up close and personal - although each whiff I take is very pleasing.
The Founders brewery describes this beer as a "double chocolate, coffee oatmeal stout" on the label - but what does that combination of flavors actually taste like? Well, it’s much more akin to a traditional oatmeal stout than anything else. I get a silky, creamy, lactose-like sweetness up front with a strong coffee flavor in the middle and an aftertaste that is mildly bitter and dissipates quickly. So yes, the flavor combination here is definitely pleasing, but I couldn’t help but notice a lack of chocolate (especially since it’s advertised as "double chocolate").
As I drink on, the coffee flavor becomes more prominent in the finish and the bitterness lingers for a little longer. Once the beer warms up significantly, a dark chocolate flavor begins to make itself known. The combination of the oatmeal sweetness and the bitterness from the coffee and chocolate strike a great balance of flavor. And as tasty as it is, I couldn’t help but find the overall palate to be milder than I was expecting.
As much as I enjoy a good stout, imperial stouts tend to be an Achilles heel of mine since they are so thick, rich, sticky and bitter. However, Founders Breakfast Stout is absolutely amazing in how strong it isn’t. The mouthfeel isn’t like motor oil like so many other imperial beers of the style, but actually quite soft, thin, and dare I say tepid. The bitterness from the coffee and chocolate grows stronger as the beer warms, but never to the point of being obnoxious (I’ve had some coffee stouts that taste like saltwater).
At 8.3% ABV this is a beer where the statistics lie. There is virtually no indication of alcohol in the palate, nor in the composition other than the slightest feeling of warmth. Most beers this strong tend to be sippers or at least a one-and-done, but I could see myself drinking a few bottles after dinner.
While Founders Breakfast Stout didn’t quite blow my mind in terms of deliciousness, I was genuinely impressed by its complex palate and easy drinkability. This would be a staple in my fridge if it were sold in my area.