Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Founders CBS (2011 original review)

Today is thre Three Year Anniversary of Chad'z Beer Reviews, so in order to celebrate we're reviewing a very special beer - Founders CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout). This beer was never bottled until recently and was limited to only 1,000 cases nationwide! Fortunately, Half Time Beverage in Poughkeepsie (about 100 miles south of Albany) got some so I actually had to take the day off from work just to drive down and get there before the store opened. The bottle we drank in this video was actually Jay's bottle - mine is chilling in the basement. I'd consider trading it for some Three Floyd Dark Lord vanilla bean or other rare editions - any takers?

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (644) - Albany, New York, USA - OCT 3, 2011

I split a 750ml bottle with a friend. I poured my share into a balloon goblet.

Appearance: Opaque black body with a large frothy/creamy dark brown head. It retains and laces the glass perfectly.

Smell: Massive coffee and bourbon aroma. Huge vanilla syrup and sweet smokiness. Extremely inviting.

Taste: Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout (or just "CBS" as the bottle indicates) is begins with the same or very similar base brew as Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS). It’s then aged in barrels that were previously used to age maple syrup which were previously used to age bourbon. Right off the bat that makes for a very interesting palate, and since I’ve already been fortunate enough to try the KBS, I couldn’t help but wonder how the CBS could possibly top its forefather.

But that’s the thing about this beer - I don’t think it’s meant to surpass the KBS as much as it’s meant to be a different approach to the same beer. Taste-wise, the palates are very similar. It begins with a sweet imperial stout taste, then coffee flavor and bitterness through the middle. The ending is the best part - huge vanilla and bourbon flavors appear out of nowhere and leave just a trace of smoke in their wake. This is a flavor and sensation commonly found in oak-aged imperial stouts, but I’ve never encountered so much vanilla before. It almost seems confectionary, as if it’s a vanilla flavoring or if the beer were aged in spiced rum barrels.

The energy level is high all around from beginning to end with a perfect balance of coffee taste and bitterness with vanilla and wood sweetness. It doesn’t have quite the roasty flavor as the KBS forbearer, making it seem actually kind of, dare I say, mild, in comparison. Whatever the case may be, Founders CBS is still a delicious brew.

Mouthfeel: Thick, soft, tepid, full-bodied. Coats the mouth, but finishes cleaner than you think.

Drinkability: You know a beer is highly drinkable when it weighs in at 10.6% ABV, has tons of flavor, and is so easy to drink you have to remember to savor it. That’s what happened to me with Founders CBS. I nearly guzzled my serving down as if there was an unlimited supply (I certainly wish there was!). What’s so impressive is that it is such a big beer and so smooth. There’s a little bit of alcohol warmth in the throat, but it’s easily tolerable. The aftertaste is quite clean with mild sweetness that’s never dry or cloying.

Overall, Founders CBS is a fantastic beer that probably lives up to the hype.

Grade: 10/10

NOTE: See my 2017 re-review to BJCP specs here: