The time to crack open this most sacred of beers came the other night with a couple of friends. I had ultimately decided that I didn’t want to sit down all alone to taste this one. One of the greatest things about drinking good beer is its social aspect. Therefore, I sat down with a good friend to enjoy this bottle. It actually resulted in him writing his own review of this bottle, which I plan to have as a bonus post tomorrow or maybe next week, but for now, you can read my thoughts.
I really lucked out in getting this bottle. Another good friend of mine told me that the local beer store I frequent actually had lists you could get on for certain beers. I asked to see the list, which had this beer listed as one of the beers for a wait list. I knew nothing about it at the time, but I figured any beer worth a waiting list was good to be in line for. A month or two later I received an email stating that the store had received one case (12 bottles) and the top 12 people on the list would be getting a bottle. I had truly lucked out. They said there were about 60 people not getting a bottle. Since then I have missed out on a few beers because of the list as well, but I definitely lucked out on this one.
The Founder’s site states, “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”. Having really enjoyed the regular Breakfast Stout, I figured this one has to be amazing. There are some key words in the description that really made me, and others, go crazy. Imperial, bourbon barrels, and maple syrup were sure to change this typical stout into something worth blogging about.
Recently I seem to talk a lot about how dark the beer pours, but this beer takes the cake. It pours out far darker than any other beer I’ve had this year. The bourbon barrels and maple syrup definitely had an effect on the color of this one. Looking at my notes, I wrote that it looked like motor oil and had a midnight black look. There is a really nice dark brown espresso head that develops on top as well. The head is thick and creamy, and it definitely manages to last for an extended period of time. There is very ample lacing that develops on the side of the glass. Let’s face it, there is no way you can see any clarity or carbonation in the glass. The liquid is far to dark. You have to jump in and find out through experience what this beer has going on.
The smell does seem to have a similar scent to that of the regular Breakfast Stout; however, it has been a little while since I had their standard Breakfast stout. I do get a ton of the chocolate and coffee in there. There are definitely a lot of toasted/roasted smells that come out of it, and you can really pull out the sticky sweetness and boozy quality as well. There seems to be a little hint of vanilla in there somewhere adding a little depth.
The sweet flavor of the maple syrup is the most prominent thing to invade your palate overall. The roasted flavors kind of kick start the tasting. These are a really pleasant start to the beer. I’m typically used to tasting the roasted qualities as a finishing taste, but here you get them right off the bat. The combined coffee and chocolate flavors come in next. They are extremely well blended into the rest of the mix and very potent as well. The very syrupy sweetness comes in at its strongest and leads you into the end. In the end you’re left with a very sweet boozy coffee taste. The bourbon quality comes in right at the end to give you that strong alcohol taste.
Overall, the mouthfeel has a very thick heavy syrupy feel. I don’t want to scare anyone into thinking it’s too thick to drink. It’s not like drinking actual maple syrup, but it is quite thick for a beer. My friend said it has almost the consistency of heavy cream. I would say this is fairly close. There is definitely not a lot of carbonation here, but there is just enough to help balance out the beer. The aftertaste is perfect for all of these flavors combined. I would fear something would overpower the rest of the mixture, but really, nothing manages to overpower too much.
I waited a long time to crack this bottle open; however, it was definitely worth the wait. The Breakfast Stout might be one of the best regular stouts out there, but this is definitely one of the best limited release imperial stouts ever. I wish I had another bottle of it to let it age a little more. Instead, I’m just glad I actually got this one. Founders is one of the best breweries out there, so even though you can’t find this one in stores anymore, you should definitely make sure to pick up anything from them you find in stores. You won’t be disappointed.
Teacher Grade: A+