Monday, November 19, 2012

Founders Breakfast Stout

Type: American Imperial Stout
Origin: Grand Rapids, MI
Price: ?
ABV: 8.3%
NSP: ?


President Brendan was kind enough to bring a bit of this back for me on his recent trip to the Midwest.  The bottle says 'Double Chocolate Coffee Oatmeal Stout'.  That's a mouthful (literally and figuratively).  I had the bourbonized Kentucky Breakfast Stout at GABF and it blew my mind, so I have high hopes for this because I tend to like non-bourbon aged versions of most beers more than their counterparts.  BA has this at 99 with over 2600 reviews- even though BA's full of snobby hipster megawank douchetards, the high score's probably a good sign.

Pitch black and completely opaque.  Exactly what I look for in a stout.  It smells like cold coffee- cold, specifically, because cold coffee smells more bitter than hot coffee.  That's not really unexpected, of course, since it's 60 IBU.  I only get a touch of chocolate, mostly in terms of some slightly sweeter richness.

Wow, that's a really good fucking stout.  It's all strong, bitter espresso up front.  After a few seconds, the chocolate (and it's ultra dark chocolate) comes through, and it comes off like a supercharged mocha.  The finish is lightly sweet (the oatmeal?)- which, while I tend to mark such a feature down in my pale ales, is something I want in a stout.  There's also a light little floral accent from the hops, but any hop-specific bitterness is put in a rear naked choke by the coffee and chocolate.  There's no notable booze, and even with how potent all the flavors are they've masterfully kept the body light.

This definitely achieve all of the flavors an imperial stout should.  The only little, nitpicky thing I'd note is that I think it could handle some beefed-up booze- even if you start to notice it once it creeps up towards 10% (and maybe beyond), beers like Speedway and Abyss have shown that well-crafted imperial stout flavors are roided-up enough to handle a lot of booze, and it becomes an added accent that ups the complexity rather than a flaw.  I wish I had a few more of these, because they'd be a great base for some experimentation.  For example, with all of the coffee and chocolate in here, I'm curious how it would taste with, say, a touch of cayenne.  Alas, no such luck.  At least until Founders decides to send a bunch of their shit out here for San Diego Beer Week again, and actually includes their stouts this time around.

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