Ahhh, the first blog of a New Year. A clean slate on which to begin and a new archive point in the right hand column. It didn't take long for me to decide how to begin the new year of Sud Savant. Maybe it was the desire to start the year strong or maybe it was simply all the "New Year's Baby" images floating around, but I knew I had to start the new year with a bottle of "the baby." I'm referring of course to Founders' Breakfast Stout.
For those that don't know, Founders' Breakfast Stout is one of the premier go-to stouts brewed in America today. You should be able to find a 4-pack for around $10 and it is worth every penny. Its label lists it as a "double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout," and if that doesn't get your tastebuds all hot and bothered then I don't know what will. In case that doesn't sound amazballs enough, Founders also makes special varieties of Breakfast Stout called Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) and Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS). CBS is another imperial stout, but it is aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels. KBS is somewhat the more sought after of the two and it is cave aged in oak bourbon barrels for one year. If you see either of those beers you should never hesitate to pick them up because their availability is extremely limited and they are without question some of the finest stouts available.
For those that do know, I hope that this review can accurately put into words the sensations when drinking this national favorite. This beer was bottled on 08/02/2012. Let's pour!
|Who could say "no" to those eyes?|
When served at a temperature colder than what is ideal, the beer has rich aromas only of coffee and a roast so dark you'd swear it was charred. Slowly but surely, the sweetness begins to creep out as the beer approaches a proper serving temperature. Chocolate tones are first and are especially sneaky since they had blended so well with the abundant coffee. Then the beer simply begins to open up; aromas become larger and richer, a bit of warmth can be detected, and a bit of that lactose-like sweetness from the oatmeal all come forward and waft zealously from the glass. You can smell this thing from across the table. It's not like a mocha, that would be too light for this beer. It's more like someone poured melted dark chocolate into your double shot of espresso. Not complex, but it is beautiful.
It's black. Plain and simple. Sure you might get a glimmer of a cola brown if you hold it right next to a light bulb, but for the most part it is an opaque, black hole of a beer. The head was disappointingly small, but makes up for it by being a tan color with earthy red tones - almost as if cinnamon were part of this beer.
Strong roast flavors begin this beer and then quickly meld into the chocolate and coffee storm that is raging inside this beer. All dark flavors, all the time. Darkest chocolate battles black espresso for supremacy of your taste buds and it is brilliant. Lots of roast is present as well and adds a lovely smokiness to the whole. A bit of a salty note is present when holding the beer in the mouth which I'm assuming is from one of the coffee varieties. The blend as a whole is remarkably rich, fudge-y, bitter, and harmoniously blended. The finish is a splash of pure coffee and a vibrant, albeit lesser, chocolate as it makes its way down the throat. The aftertaste lingers as much as real coffee would, remaining bitter and inducing fears of future bad "coffee breath." Oh, and the 8.3% ABV? Invisible, unless you slurp.
Wonderfully smooth, but without falling into the trap of most stouts of being almost non-carbonated. Quite the contrary, this stout has a level of carbonation that makes it much more lively that most stouts, yet does not distract in the mouthfeel nor butt heads with the smoothness inherent when using a ton of malts. Also, I can't get over how the alcohol in this beer is completely camouflaged. Well done!
Overall Impression 9/10
Truly, a first rate stout: delicious, big, well made, well blended, and deserving of its national acclaim. Thankfully, this brew is not as hard to get a hold of as its big brothers. This is not the biggest, baddest stout attainable, but should certainly be viewed as a treat whenever it is consumed.
I know, I know... some of you may find this rating a bit low. In fact, most of the folks at BeerAdvocate and RateBeer would certainly find this score low as that FBS currently rates a 99 and 100 on those sites, respectively. However, if one gives a perfect score to this beer, what are you supposed to give its big brothers, the CBS and KBS, which are even more highly regarded (even if that may be partially tied to their rarity)? This is an excellent score for an excellent beer, but it is also given with a strong consideration to other contenders in the style. It's actually quite the accolade to be compared to other amazing beers that are brewed on a much smaller scale. FBS is one of the best widely distributed stouts in America. Period.