There are a handful of craft beers that seem to make everyone’s list for “try at any cost”. Most are nearly impossible to get and require trading. Founders Brewing CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout) was one of those beers.
This famed beer was originally released in October 2011 and from that point on, craft beer fans have been trying to find a way to get their hands on it.
Occasionally, a craft beer bar would get a keg of it but for most of us it was a pipe dream.
That all changed when Founders Brewing announced that that final bottle in their 2017 Barrel Aged Series would be CBS.
With a lot of anticipation, beer fans flocked to stores to get their hands on a bottle of this famed beer. Let’s learn a little more about it and check out what I thought about this beer that was 6 years worth of hype in the making.
Review Of Founders Brewing CBS
I never got to try the 2011 version of CBS. At that time, I was new to craft beer but I wasn’t “in the know” and definitely wasn’t going to jump through any hoops to get a beer.
But times have changed and I was really excited at the prospect of getting to try the latest release of this beer. And after 6 years, most of the beer world was ready as well.
In December 2017, Canadian Breakfast Stout hit retail shelves and was packaged in 750ml bottles (roughly 25oz). Most retail stores sold it for around $25.
At about $1 per ounce, it’s on the high end of what I’m willing to spend on beer. But without any issue at all, it appeared to sell out rapidly.
Founders Brewing CBS has an ABV of 11.7% but I was unable to find the IBUs – lets just say they are low.
Here is how Founders Brewing describes their Canadian Breakfast Stout:
CBS was born when we stumbled upon some bourbon barrels that had previously housed maple syrup. We opted to put the same base beer as KBS, an imperialized version of Breakfast Stout, in the maple barrels and, after one taste, we knew we had something special. Rich maple syrup, roasted coffee and velvety chocolate meld together in what can only be described as a transcendental drinking experience.
First off, I was a little taken back by the price of CBS. Like I said, at $1 per ounce, it’s not an inexpensive beer.
And I wasn’t thrilled that it was only available in 750ml bottles and not 4 packs of 12oz bottles like the other beers in the series.
So when it was released, I hesitated on going out to find it and I missed my chance to get a bottle. Then a Christmas miracle happened.
While at my parent’s house for a Christmas party, my Dad decided to open his bottle of CBS and share it with everyone.
As he opened the bottle, he immediately commented on the sweet aroma. It was a nose full of maple and coffee.
He poured the bottle into small 4 ounce glasses. It was pitch black and produced a very small tan head. It looked more like motor oil than beer at this point.
The aroma continued into the flavor as the initial taste was sweet, roasty coffee. This was followed by the maple. Those flavors dominated much of the drinking experience.
Canadian Breakfast Stout has a heavy, slick body which may have been my favorite part. It was noticeably heavier than anything I’d had recently. The heavy body made the sweetness seem right at home.
It finished with bourbon notes as well as a little dry. And this only led me to want more of it.
CBS is a beer that is best when sipped so I took my time and eventually helped myself to a few more ounces.
The remarkable thing about this beer is how it has layers of different flavors that show up throughout drinking it.
And the bourbon is not boozy, harsh or “hot”. Instead, you get the flavor without any of the other elements.
I contribute this to how it was aged in maple bourbon barrels. Much of the bourbon bite was already pulled out with the maple syrup.
And the maple was there but not overly sweet; again because it came from maple bourbon barrels and not from directly adding maple to the beer.
There’s little fault I can find in this one. It provided everything I was hoping for. I think some may argue it could have been stronger but not for me. It landed just where I wanted it.
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So in 2011, Founder Brewing CBS was a unique and intriguing beer but in 2017 it is just one of many.
However, it’s hard to argue with Founders ability to continually put out great products. For me, CBS lived up to the hype.
I’d love to see it available a little more often than every 6 years as I’d gladly enjoy this on a regular basis.
This deep, rich and decadent beer is a treat and I hope you got a chance to try it.